CALLISBURG — For just about all of Angela Allen’s tenure at Callisburg, the Lady Wildcats have been perennial playoff participants.

There have been trips to the region tournament and gaudy records. And there was only one thing that hadn’t happened, until this past season.

Getting to the state tournament is hard, let alone with seven sophomores making up half the roster.

“They really committed to getting better. It was a young team but they had a lot of court experience,” Allen said. “From the get-go I had to do things different with so many young kids on varsity.”

After winning the 9-3A title, the Lady Wildcats made it back to the region tourney and had to win both matches in five games, including the region semis against White Oak after falling behind 0-2.

Callisburg was 35-12 and advanced to the Class 3A state tournament before losing to eventual champ Goliad in the semifinals.

It was the fourth state tournament appearance for the program but the first since 1977.

“It meant a tremendous amount,” Allen said. “You want it for the kids. You want them to have that experience.”

Allen, who also has a state tournament appearance in softball, has been named the Herald Democrat All-Texomaland Volleyball Coach of the Year for the 2016 season and the second time (2010).