Setting the Season: Volleyball Deals With Socially Distant Season

Like many other sports, volleyball is facing a very different season. From masks to hand sanitizer, their practices, games, and team bonding looks much different than in years past.

“I would say the most challenging thing, this sounds kind of funny, but remembering not too high-five,” varsity player Reagan Hellberg, a junior, said. “Like for me I know we all encourage each other so much and we’ll literally get in trouble if we high five or make contact or get too close to each other, like in the huddles. So I’d say that’s probably the biggest adjustment because I’m so used to doing that.”

Masks are required during practices, but while games are happening, players can pull down their masks while on the court. 

“Some people would think that you’re suffocating wearing this mask but in reality, you can breathe whenever you’re actually playing, which I think is the nice part. I don’t know what I would do if I had to keep it up while I was playing and breathing so heavily.” Hellberg said.

But it’s more than just mask rules and no hi-fives. Players must follow strict social distancing guidelines as well.

“We have to stay completely distant, like six feet apart at all times, which is kind of hard when you know you’re playing, it brings new things to the drills and games,” Hellberg said. “And when you’re in line you literally have to stay six feet apart, so it’s so spaced out.”

But what has changed the most for the volleyball program is how they bond together as a team.

“We used to do so many team bonding things. We used to go hang out, we used to have pool parties and we can’t do any of that anymore, you know?” Hellberg said. “The only team bonding activity we’ve done is go out to dinner, but still, we’re wearing our masks, we’re going to the restaurant, and it’s just so different. There’s only so much you can do as a team to like, get to together.”

However, Hellberg mentioned that the team still has great chemistry after spending so many hours on the court together. And all that practice is for their hopes of making it to playoffs in an unpredictable year.

“Honestly, it’s so crazy because everything is just so unexpected. I feel like everybody feels that way. And like tomorrow is like a mystery. Every single day you don’t know what it’s going to look like. You don’t know when this is going to be over and honestly, I’d say coming out of this season I hope that we get to go to the playoffs,” Hellberg said. “That’s the hope. Hopefully, we make it super far, because at any moment anything can get canceled, you just never know, it’s so unexpected.”

By Cady Russell, Online Editor-in-Chief and Sports Editor

Featured photo by David Jensen

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