Callaway volleyball gets season rolling

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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The Callaway volleyball season is officially underway as of Tuesday evening. The Cavaliers took on LaGrange and Hardaway in a doubleheader at LaGrange.

“I’m really excited to finally get this season started,” Callaway coach Shelby Goins said. “These girls have been waiting a long time for this, and we have faced a lot of adversity this summer.”

The Cavaliers season has been stuck in neutral this month with the Callaway High gymnasium undergoing renovations which has limited the practice time and has not let the team host a home game so far this season.

On Tuesday, the handbrake was off as the Cavaliers fell to the Grangers in game one before beating the Hawks in game two.

“Confidence was the key in the Hardaway game,” Goins said. “The girls worked together in a way that they didn’t in the first game.”

The Cavaliers are undergoing a major transition this season with only three players — Blair Littlefield, Raniya Mahone and Lacey Thomas — playing a major role on last year’s team that made a trip to the elite eight in the AA playoffs.

“Half of the time I don’t even have to coach because these girls step up and make sure everybody knows their roles, making sure coverage is strong,” Goins said. “It is cool to see the relationship forming between these girls and the younger ones.”

The varsity is comprised of just eight members and five of them — Lillian Beall, Ale’yah Dunn, Jada McKee, Ava Taylor and Shamya Wilkinson — got a trial by fire as they got their first experience with the varsity team.

“We have a lot of girls that played JV last year that have been moved up to varsity,” Goins said. “They have a ton of respect for the older girls and are really listening to them.”

Dunn missed all of last season with an injury and has very little game experience, but Goins was happy with what she saw from her as she transitions to the team’s libero. 

Callaway is going into year two under Goins, who feels more comfortable and confident at the helm this season. 

“I’m really comparing where we are right now to where we were this time last year,” Goins said. “This time last year we were nowhere close to where we are now, and that is really exciting for me.”

The Cavaliers start off their season 1-1 and will be back on the road Thursday to take on Lamar County and Upson-Lee.

“The girls are literally begging me to add games, and we just added these two last week,” Goins said. “We only have six other teams in the region, and we don’t get to play them until late September and October, so we are trying to get as much experience as we can.”