Sports

Experience helped Falcon volleyball duo salvage season

Hannah Calderwood and Aly Chapman went full circle as volleyball co-captains at Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Hannah Calderwood and Aly Chapman went full circle as volleyball co-captains at Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Senior moments: Pair of four-year players led surge

With only two seniors on the South Whidbey volleyball team, the season started with lots of questions.

Who would lead? Who would become the focus on offense? In a close game, who would be the go-to hitter?

Through the first half of the season, when South Whidbey struggled to a 3-5 record, those questions remained. Then the Falcons hit their stride as the program’s only varsity seniors took control, anchored by middle hitter Hannah Calderwood and outside hitter Aly Chapman.

South Whidbey surged in the second half, including five wins to finish 9-7 in the regular season. In the 1A District 1 tournament, South Whidbey won two matches before being eliminated with two losses. During the tournament, Calderwood dominated at the net while Chapman cleaned up in the back court and reunited as team co-captains —  Calderwood and Chapman were also co-captains in eighth grade at Langley Middle School.

Here are their reflections on their careers and final season.

How have you improved in the Falcon program?

Hannah Calderwood: I’ve improved in leadership, confidence and the physical and mental game of volleyball.

Aly Chapman: I learned the benefits of leadership, teamwork, responsibility and dedication.

What changed that allowed the team to finish as well as it did?

Calderwood: We found our stride, it took us a while but we had a lot of fight and it came out.

Chapman: We found a consistent lineup and communicated and played better as a team.

What is the most important technique or lesson you learned?

Calderwood: As a middle blocker you have to be quick and smart, and always remember BSBH (ball setter ball hitter).

Chapman: I learned to watch the opposite hitter’s body language in order to know where to release to defend the hit.

What is your fondest memory off the court?

Calderwood: Bus rides with Amelia (Weeks) and driving Hailey Simchuk home every day after practice.

Chapman: My fondest memories are sleepovers and game nights with the team - especially playing Apples to Apples.

Which game in your career stands out the most to you?

Calderwood: The senior night Archbishop Murphy game, the last time playing on my home court and winning that last point.

Chapman: Beating Archbishop Murphy on senior night because I haven’t run into a single person who remembers South Whidbey beating them.

Who was the funniest player?

Calderwood: Hands down, Haley Viers. God I love her.

Chapman: Haley Viers. She always made the funniest comments or statements at just the right time.

Why play volleyball?

Calderwood: I don’t remember why I started, but I play now because it’s in my heart.

Chapman: Volleyball is a lifelong sport that is fun to play at all ages and teaches the importance of mental awareness and leadership.

Why were there only two seniors on this squad?

Calderwood: Volleyball is not for everyone, either you play it or you don’t.

Chapman: Two girls moved away and a few others chose to play soccer since the two seasons overlap.

Which game do you have regrets about?

Calderwood: I can’t have any regrets; I walked away from an incredible last season with a bond between 11 girls I’ll never forget and a million memories I’ll always remember.

Chapman: Our district game against Nooksack Valley. We were more than capable of beating them and hearing that they continued on to state did not help.

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