WACO — Chyanne Chapman could not let the opportunity pass.
In the days leading up to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ fourth annual Victory Bowl volleyball match, the Copperas Cove standout was diagnosed with strep throat, robbing the recent graduate of a final high school contest.
Chapman refused to let the virus alter her intentions, however, and with the help of antibiotics, she was cleared to play in Saturday afternoon’s match at Waco University.
After all, she was not content to walk away yet.
“I had to go out and give it my all,” she said. “Now, I feel like I’ve left it all out on the court, and I’m satisfied with my career.
“I’m just really happy that I got to come here and play.”
She was not the only one.
Former Lady Bulldawgs teammate Madison Wasiak was looking forward to playing alongside Chapman one more time but resigned to the fact it would not happen.
Then, the improbable occurred.
“It made my day,” Wasiak said. “She pushed through being sick, and it meant a lot that she would come for me and for the game.
“That just made everything better.”
The highlights were limited for the Red team once the match began, though, as the Blue team cruised to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-15 victory.
The Blue team recorded the match’s first three points before Chapman responded with her team’s opening kill, but it did not take long for the Blue team to pull away.
Moments later, the Blue team embarked on a 10-3 run and closed the set by winning 11 of the final 15 points. Then, in the second set, after being tied 2-2, the Blue team created a 13-7 advantage before claiming seven consecutive points to create a comfortable cushion.
The teams went back and forth to start the third set, but once again, the Blue team found its rhythm, using a 9-4 outburst to propel it to a straight-set win.
But Red team outside hitter Kate Lovejoy, of Gatesville, is not concerned with the outcome following several days of worship, fun, community service and bonding leading up to the match.
“I came into this expecting to play a lot of volleyball,” she said, “and we did, but I learned about a lot more than just volleyball.
“I had some awesome coaches and awesome host parents, who taught me a lot of life lessons, and I will never forget this experience.”
Similarly, Chapman will always remember having one final opportunity to share the court with Wasiak.
“I started my volleyball career with her in eighth grade,” Chapman said, “and now, I get to end my senior year with her.
“She is one of my closest friends, so this was really important to me.”