Callaway seniors lead volleyball team through tough season

Published 8:30 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

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The 2023 season has not been the one that the Callaway volleyball team wanted or expected, especially the four seniors — Lillian Beall, Blair Littlefield, Lacey Thomas and Shamya Wilkerson. The team will go through the entire season without a home game as their gym is currently under renovation, but the team is finding the fun in the small moments.

“We know that we can improve and have fun, so just because we are not at our best right now doesn’t mean we can’t find things that are fun and make us better,” Beall said. 

These four seniors have been integral to the remarkable resurgence the program has undergone in recent seasons. It all culminated in the team making history last year, making the elite eight for the first time in program history.

“To be a small school with a small team and not have all the benefits that the private schools have definitely made us feel very good,” Littlefield said. 

Thomas added: “It’s history, nobody can take it away from us.”

It has been a true bittersweet goodbye for the four, who have not had the senior year on the court they expected. 

“A part of me is ready to go back to work, having a social life and focusing on my classes, but I also don’t want it to be over,” Littlefield said. 

The four have undoubtedly been wounded by the lack of cohesive structure to their season, but they have never let that creep into their leadership of the team.

“This year has been very frustrating, but we are trying to make the most of it and show the younger girls that it will get better,” Thomas said. 

Littlefield added: “We just look forward to when we can actually play. We want to play in as many games as we can.”

Thursday’s senior night game against Heard County was the team’s only home game of the season and it was played out at Callaway Middle. It has been a season full of road trips for the Cavaliers.

“It’s been very tiring and a lot of late nights,” Wilkerson said as the other three nodded in agreement.

Three of the four — Littlefield, Thomas and Wilkerson started playing in eighth grade while Beall started in the ninth grade. All knew little to nothing about volleyball at first, but have really grown up on the court together.

“I think every day in practice we go over coverage and where we should be,” Thomas said. “We have learned a lot since we first started.”

The days in red and black will eventually come to an end for these four, but the memories they have made together will live on.

“We went to the Zoo before a game even though we lost that game,” Thomas said as the four shared a laugh. “We are always going to make the best of a situation.”

These girls have never run from a challenge and this year is no different. They embody the Cavalier fighting spirit.

“We are Callaway girls,” Thomas said. 

Callaway will have a couple more chances to play in front of some home fans when they play Troup next Monday and take part in the Dig Pink tournament at Troup High on Tuesday.