From one Leithleiter to the next: One sister passes the torch to another for Callaway soccer

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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The Leithleiter sisters were easy to recognize on the soccer field together. The two’s tall, lanky frames towered over their Callaway teammates and the siblings were attached at the hip these last couple of years.

Older sister Kadence and younger sister Alayna have come down completely different paths to earn a starting role on the Callaway soccer team, but each of them had a monumental impact during their last season as teammates.

Kadence is freshly graduated and ready to pass on the torch to Alayna. Though they play different positions, Kadence in midfield and Alayna at goalkeeper, the two forged a true relationship on the soccer field. Alayna joined the team for the 2023 season as a freshman and the two’s bond has only been strengthened from there.

“We really did not get close until the last couple of years and now you can’t separate us,” Kadence said. 

While they may bicker occasionally away from the field, when they are on the soccer pitch together it’s absolute friendship as the two offer a strong support system for one another. 

“I love that she decided to play, I get so excited when she makes a big save,” Kadence said. “We are constantly talking during the game or at halftime.”

“I’m very goofy and she loves to make fun of that,” Alayna interjected. 

This triggered one of the many times Alayna caused Kadence to laugh in the middle of a game. “Oh my gosh, she’ll try to come out and head the ball and have no idea where the ball is. I can’t do anything but laugh, but if anybody else is laughing, okay, it’s serious now,” Kadence said as the two shared a hearty laugh.

It took a lot of convincing to get Alayna in some cleats and goalie gloves. The younger Leithleiter has never been a fan of running and had no idea how she would fit on the team. She spent the first half of the season as the manager before the starter, Raine Hunt, had to miss a game. Alayna stepped in and made an impact in her absence and the rest is history.

“I had one practice before that game and I didn’t even have gloves or cleats,” she said, laughing. “I was so scared because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I was just hoping the ball would never come to me.”

Alayna is one of Callaway’s standout young volleyball players. Her ability to dive, move and yes her hands on the court quickly translated over to playing in goal for the Callaway girls soccer team.

“It took some time to adjust, but I think playing volleyball really helped me in goal,” Alayna said. “I also don’t like running, so I don’t think I could play anywhere else.”

Kadence came into the 2024 season as a bonafide starter and a captain. Alayna’s spot on the team was more fluid. She had to battle it out for the starting keeper spot and finally earned it with some really strong play down the stretch.

“I remember one game, it was senior night against Sandy Creek, and it was raining super bad when she made some big saves to help us win,” Kadence said. “She made one save where she dove like it was volleyball right into a huge puddle in front of the goal.”

Her play did not go unnoticed by her teammates and coaches and she was named the team’s most improved player.

The two will both be playing in red and black again next year, but the jerseys will have a different crest. Kadence will be playing for LaGrange College starting in the fall which will allow her to still pop in during the spring to watch her sister help the Cavaliers.

“I couldn’t leave my sister,” Kadence said, flashing a big smile as the two made eye contact. “She will probably get tired of me cheering her on from the stands.”