Castillow succeeds in sport despite adversity
By Emilee Webb, Staff Writer
October 14, 2021
from Volume 130, Issue 3: October 14, 2021
Lexie Castillow is a senior volleyball player from Greenwood, Arkansas. She plays libero, or back-row defensive specialist, for the Ouachita Volleyball team. She was also an Honorable Mention for the All-Great American Conference during the 2020-2021 season. Deciding to come to Ouachita to play volleyball was exciting, but her athletic career has not been without challenges.
Castillow recalls the adversity she has faced throughout her career. She lost her right kneecap and part of her lung, but this did not stop her from continuing to play the sport she has loved for years.
Since beginning her volleyball career at 12-years-old, Castillow has grown up around the sport. She began playing volleyball simply because all of her friends played for the local club. She wanted to join them and play a school sport. So, in the seventh grade, she tried out for the traveling team and made it. Since then, Castillow has had a strong love for the sport and the decision to continue her athletic career in college was a no-brainer.
After her freshman year of college, Castillow decided to play volleyball for Ouachita. OBU Volleyball Head Coach Allison Frizzell-Kizer, or “Coach Frizz,” had a large influence on her decision to make the move to Ouachita.
“I decided to come to OBU after my freshman year of college. Coach Frizz just really put a belief in me that I was meant to be here and that this is where God wanted me to be,” Castillow said. “OBU just felt like God was telling me I had a purpose there, so I chose to play for Coach Frizz. ”
Playing with injuries is a challenge, but Castillow finds the team aspect of her sport to be a huge help in facing adversity.
“[It] was definitely a challenge when going back to playing. Wearing a bulky brace is not my favorite, but I make it work. As a team, we face adversity every day and we grow stronger as a team because of it,” Castillow said.
Castillow cites her faith in Christ and her consistent drive to overcome anything as the two things that have allowed her to continue her volleyball career.
“I don’t like when people tell me I can’t do something, because I’ll always do my best to prove them wrong. Playing for my dad and my family, my teammates and my coaches motivates me to get through the tough times because they have all made sacrifices for me,” Castillow said.
Castillow has had an accomplished career at Ouachita, even setting a record for Ouachita-career digs. During the 2020-2021 season, Castillow played in all 11 matches and recorded a season-high 39 digs at Southern Arkansas. She also led the GAC with 284 digs and 6.76 digs per set. During the 2019 season, she led the GAC with 5.32 digs per set.
Castillow cites the sport itself as a major motivator to continue to work hard as well.
“I love how competitive volleyball can be, and how there is something constantly going on within our sport,” Castillow said. Aside from actually playing the sport, volleyball has had an impact on Castillow’s life in a number of ways. In addition to the motivation and drive she has learned from volleyball, Castillow has made lifelong friendships from the sport.
“I love all the relationships the sport brings. All of my teammates are like my sisters, and I have so many unforgettable memories with them,” Castillow said.
After she graduates college, Castillow plans to pursue a career that still involves the sport.
“I’ve been around athletics my whole life. My dad was my first coach,” Castillow said. “When I graduate, I want to be a coach. I really can’t imagine my life not playing the sport I love.”
(photos by Mikaela Monahan)