This week’s guest has morphed into one of the best outside hitter in the state and is in the middle of preparing to have a big junior season which she hopes ends with Boyd back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Please kick back and enjoy the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with Boyd star junior Avery Calame.
Can you explain the emotions attached with having your junior season as a Lady Bronco in jeopardy because of COVID-19?
Calame: It is obviously scary knowing I might not get the junior season I've been anticipating, but the most important thing right now is staying positive. We have a season that is set to start on the 14th of September so that is some great news. There's always that thought in the back of our heads that this season might get canceled or postponed. But us Lady Broncos have been working hard by lifting, playing volleyball, conditioning, and staying in touch with each other.
Whether we get a season or not, we're ready.
How big of a deal was it to end the Boyd volleyball program’s two-year playoff drought last season?
Calame: It was such a huge deal to be a part of the team that ended our playoff drought. We went into the season confident and knowing our goals and what we wanted the outcome of the season to be.
I think being able to make it to playoffs for the first time in two years takes off a lot of stress from the players and coaches. We as a team know now that we are capable of great things, and we are hoping to make it even further this year.
What do you and your teammates need to improve upon to be a complete team at the end of the season this year?
Calame: Honestly, from what I've seen these past few days of tryouts we have a lot of talent from all sides of the court. We have a great block set up across the net at all times, and we have some fantastic setters coming in.
On the defensive side of things obviously we lost our libero Darian, but all of the DS/Liberos have really stepped their game up and are giving full effort 100 percent of the time. The only thing I think of that we need to improve on is ball control and consistency.
Every team can improve on those things of course, but if we can get better at that I think we will be a phenomenal team.
How have you improved as a player and teammate since bursting on the scene as a freshman?
Calame: I think as a player I have improved a lot on my consistency in swinging, but also being able to hit the ball harder and faster. Being a lefty on the outside is definitely something you don't usually see.
I used to think I was just like every other outside, but over the past years I've figured out how to use my left arm swing to my advantage against different defenses and blockers. As a teammate, I feel like I have gotten a lot better at being emotionally connected to my teammates on the court, and really loving the game to the fullest.
As a freshman, I would go on the court and just play. Now I feel like I've grown a lot more passionate and competitive in this sport.
Do you feel any pressure to have a spectacular season and live up to the hype as being one of the best outside hitters in the state?
Calame: There's always some type of pressure, but not just for me for everyone on the team. Being able to play in one of the hardest districts can already be a little nerve-racking, along with so many other things that go on in the volleyball world. However, I don't feel a lot of pressure to have a spectacular season because I know I'm still the player/person that's always played volleyball for the same reason, I play because I'm in love with the sport!
I feel like if everyone on the team plays with the love and passion they have for this sport, we will all have a spectacular season.
Who has had the biggest influence on you and how has their guidance helped you to get to this stage of your career?
Calame: This question is probably the easiest question yet. My biggest influence is my club volleyball coach, Lee Golden. Coach Lee is going into her 4th season being my assistant coach.
She has taught me and so many other players how to beat the odds and do what everyone is telling you can't do. Coach Lee also truly loves her players and has helped me with so many different struggles I've had whether it was volleyball or not.
She lets me know it so much more than a game. Most importantly Coach Lee gave me confidence going into my freshman year letting me know that I could literally do anything I put my mind and heart to. (And I still use that confidence to this day.)
How has your relationship with Boyd head hcoach J.J Castillo helped you become a better player and leader?
Calame: My relationship with Coach Castillo has definitely let me become a better player and leader. Coach Castillo and the whole MBV coaching staff are so easy to talk to outside of volleyball, which is why I think I have such a good bond with all of them.
Coach Castillo has shared her goals with me every season, so that means that they are my goals and the team's goals too. I think knowing what Coach Castillo wants out of the season, and her knowing what I want out of the season for sure gives me the opportunity to be a great leader on the court.
She is willing to put in the time and work hard for the team and I, so that alone makes me such a better teammate and player!
What does being a Lady Bronco mean to you and how much pride do you have representing Boyd high school?
Calame: Being able to represent McKinney Boyd in this competitive sport is such an honor. I walk into the gym every day knowing I'm playing for my teammates, my coaches, and the school itself.
Being a Lady Bronco means family, effort, and attitude 100 percent. I've grown such a strong bond with all of the girls on the team, as well as the coaches and that makes them family. When we step onto the court everyone is trying their best the whole time whether it be practice or a game, and I love that about our team.
Lastly being a Lady Bronco also has a lot to do with our attitudes. We take so much pride in wearing this jersey and have the best mindset at all times so we can be the best possible team we can be.