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AJ's Dixon signs with SMC

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Lady Vols ace to play for Pioneers

By Robert Howey

 

   

KERSHAW – For Andrew Jackson High School volleyball star Callie Dixon, her dream came true with the signing of her name in the AJHS media center on Thursday morning.

Dixon realized a dream, signing to play college volleyball at Spartanburg Methodist College in Spartanburg.

“To sign to play college volleyball has been a dream of mine since the seventh grade when I started playing,” said Dixon, a six-year member of the AJ Lady Vols volleyball team.

“This feels great and I’m very excited,” she said. “All the hard work has paid off for me.”

Dixon, in her senior season, posted 265 kills in a team total of 532, 70 service aces and 319 digs.

In her senior and junior seasons, she had 473 kills with 127 service aces and 349 digs.

Dixon’s play earned her recognition as one of the state’s top volleyball players.

A month ago, she played in the annual Coaches Association of Women’s Sports North-South All-Star volleyball match at Erskine College in Due West.

She was also named the Region IV-AA Player of the Year for volleyball after the Lady Vols finished in a tie for first in regular-season play with county foe Indian Land for the second straight season.

The Lady Warriors captured the crown, prevailing in a special play-off match at Lancaster High School.

Dixon also earned all-region volleyball honors for the second straight season.

AJ finished the season with a 16-14-2 record, including a 9-2 mark in region play.

“This is awesome,” said AJ coach John Verdugo. “Callie has worked hard in her career here.

“This is a good opportunity for her and she will make the best of it,” Verdugo said. “Callie has really help elevate our volleyball program. She set a good tone for our program.”

In her junior campaign, Dixon helped AJ to the Conference IV-AA title, the Lady Volunteers’ first since the 2002 campaign.

AJ finished 22-9 and defeated IL in a special playoff-off match at Lancaster High to win the league crown and earn a Class AA Upper State playoff bid as a top seed in the postseason field. AJ advanced to the Class AA Upstate semifinals before falling to Keenan High of Columbia.

The Lady Volunteers were ranked in a tie for fourth in the final Class AA state volleyball poll for the 2010 season.

“It’s been a while since we had a volleyball player sign,” Verdugo said. “I hope this is an omen and the start of good things to come for our volleyball program.”

The SMC Lady Pioneers, after missing the playoffs last year, earned a bid to the Alabama region tournament where their season ended with a 15-16 record.

“SMC has a good program,” Dixon said. “In academics, I’ll be able to take my basics to major in sports management. I’m looking forward to it.”

Andrew Jackson athletic director Scottie Phillips said Dixon made a difference in the Lady Vols volleyball program.

“Callie worked hard and has been dedicated to our program and helping it turn around,” Phillips said. “We will miss her play next season, but the example she set through hard work, dedication and being a team player is something our younger players will hopefully pick up on in the future.

“We feel real good about the direction of our volleyball program and Callie played a key role in helping it move forward.

“She’s an outstanding athlete and a good student and we wish her the best in what is a bright future,” Phillips said.