Caldwell turns it around

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Newport Harbor outside hitter doing best to make most of senior year after missing time last season.

March 25, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

After hammering shots with his right arm in six matches in a four-day span, Cody Caldwell felt sore at practice earlier this week.

He was still recovering from all the action at the Orange County Championships. On Monday, he led the Newport Harbor High boys' volleyball team to a runner-up finish in the top division at the tournament.

Two days later, mentally, Caldwell was not in the Newport Harbor gym toward the end of the practice. Coach Dan Glenn called him out for tuning out.

Glenn was not instructing Caldwell, but he checked to see if the best player on the court was paying attention.

"What did I say to Rusty [Sary]," Glenn asked Caldwell, who stood on the other side of the net.

Caldwell did not have the right answer and that did not sit well with Glenn.

The senior described the practice as one of the worst. Even though Glenn did not allow Caldwell to swing with his right arm, so he could rest, the 6-foot-6 outside hitter knows he cannot take days off.


In his fourth season with the Sailors (9-6), Caldwell understands what Glenn expects.

"Physically, he doesn't care what we do, as long as we're trying hard," Caldwell said. "But mentally, he just wants you to pre-think before the play and know what's going on."

What is going on with the Sailors' program is no secret. The Sailors have only three players with big-match experience.

The rest of the team lacks it. And the player Glenn said he needs to lead and energize the Sailors is Caldwell.

"Those new guys, [they] got to learn how to play on the varsity level, but [they] also have to learn how to practice at the varsity level," Glenn said. "It's just hard because someone like Cody, I didn't let him swing with his right arm [during practice] because he [swung] at so many balls [during the tournament]. He kind of needs a little rest, but my team is so young that you can't give my older guys the rest that they probably need because the younger guys need to learn how to play.

"My theory on that is the older guys just got to suck it up."

Caldwell said he is more than willing to do whatever it takes to win.

He has goals of winning Sunset League, CIF Southern Section Division I and CIF State Division I titles before he graduates and moves to the Midwest to play and study at Loyola University Chicago. After what happened during his junior year, Caldwell is not taking his final high school season for granted.

Twice Caldwell found himself in trouble.

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