Macarthur Unified Volleyball returns to the playoffs

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 4:33 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - “It’s a partner with the Special Olympics and that’s been around for quite a while. It’s the combination of kids with special needs and the general population. We participate primarily in sports, but we have other things that go on as well,” said coach Greg Ford.

There are only 10 Unified volleyball teams in Oklahoma, five in the east and five in the west. Mac is the number 2 seed in the state, and Friday they are looking to bring home their first State championship.

“These kids are all out there, they want to compete. There’s pure joy in them just playing the game,” said Ford.

Ford has been coaching with the program since it joined the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association just four years ago. In 2020, the team made it to the State championship, and while they fell short, they’re feeling good about their upcoming playoff game.

“It feels super great. I know we haven’t been making it in the past couple of years, but I know a few years ago we did and didn’t make it that far. Hopefully, we can change that this year,” said senior partner Esethi Tiato.

Current Mac senior Esethi Tiato is going into her first year of playing volleyball as a partner for unified.

“A partner is just someone who can help with our athletes, whether that’s just playing with them, making them feel more comfortable, and then getting them more involved,” said Tiato.

With a full roster and a dedicated coaching staff, the highlanders are ready for the playoffs. Tiato said having a family atmosphere and positive energy can lead to big things.

“My experience has been super good and I love involving with the athletes, and just seeing everyone having fun. My favorite moment has been the memories we’ve all made together. Whether that be a team or just in class or with the athletes, but overall it’s always a good time,” said Tiato.