Night of celebration at Callaway
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a night of smiles, of celebration, and of relief.
There was so much uncertainty during the summer for the Callaway High volleyball team, which wondered if there would even be a fall season because of Covid-19.
The season began as scheduled, though, and on Thursday night, Callaway was able to hold its senior-night ceremony.
After a win over Model, the team’s six seniors and their families were recognized, and everyone then headed to the cafeteria for a banquet.
Callaway ended the night with a loss to Haralson County, but that didn’t take anything away from what was a special evening.
“I’m glad we got the senior night in,” said Leigh Bailey, Callaway’s first-year head coach. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I got to celebrate with the seniors, and I got to say you are important to this team. I know we got that accomplished.”
The seniors are Auneicia Hill, Autumn Todd, Jaidah Hale, Jurneee Garrett, Tamyra Dukes and Tiffany Bledsoe.
Those players have been together since they were freshmen, and Garrett said they’ve always had outstanding chemistry.
“It’s a good thing that we can all work together the past four years to get where we are today,” Garrett said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and a lot of stress, and a lot of pressure, but we made it to where we are today, and I’m glad we’ve been able to work as a team.”
Thursday’s matches were both against area opponents.
Against Model, Callaway won the first set 25-20 before dropping the second set 25-19.
In the winner-take-all third set, Callaway took control from the get-go on the way to a 15-11 win.
After Haralson County beat Model, Callaway and Haralson County got together for the third and final match of the night.
Haralson County won the first set 25-17, and it finished things off with a 25-19 victory.
Callaway has now beaten four of its area opponents, and that could bode well for the area tournament coming up in a few weeks.
Callaway will need to finish fourth or higher in the area tournament to qualify for state.
“I have full confidence in them, and they’re getting better every day,” Bailey said. “I can see it, but I don’t think they always see it. It’s hard for all of us. We want to win, but if you learn from (a loss) and keep a good attitude, you’ll get there.”
Against Model, Callaway was trailing 18-17 in the first set when Bledsoe came through with a block to pull her team even.
Bledsoe added another block, a kill, and a service winner to help Callaway secure the 25-20 win.
Model was clinging to an 18-17 lead in the second set when it scored seven of the next nine points to win 25-19 and force a third set.
A pair of Amoria McFarlin blocks helped Callaway build a 9-2 lead in the third set, and it was ahead 14-7 before Haralson County scored four straight points to get within three.
Callaway won the final point of the set to secure the 15-11 win and claim the win.
In the day’s final match, Haralson County was in control from the start of the first set, and it won 25-17.
In the second set, Todd had three service winners during a four-point stretch to give Callaway a 6-4 lead, and a Haley Blair block pushed the lead to 8-5.
Haralson County scored the next four points to reclaim the lead, and it was ahead the rest of the way on the way to a 25-19 win.