Written by: Josh Safran
Photo by: owlsports.com
Throughout the past few months several NCAA conferences have shut down their fall sports seasons due to the COVID-19 outbreak. After prolonging their decision, the AAC announced yesterday the cancellations of the fall season for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.
“We were really looking forward to competing this Fall,” Temple volleyball coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said in Thursday’s media availability. “Obviously we had been in training for the last five-to-six weeks and the players have been working really hard, but we understand the decision that was made by the conference… We’re aware that the safety of our players and our staff is the most important thing.”
Even before the conference’s announcement on Wednesday, the volleyball team’s coaching staff and players have been adhering to strict guidelines and alterations to their typical practices. While athletes are not required to wear masks during physical play, the coaching staff is required to wear masks at all times and the athletes mask up during huddles.
One of the hardest adjustments is use of the locker room, where only three student athletes may enter at once in intervals of 15 minutes.
“Personally my biggest concern was just the uncertainty of everything,” sophomore middle Kayla Spells said. “A lot of the girls that I played club with are all across the country in different conferences so we hear, ‘oh this conference just dropped out and that conference just dropped out’, and that was a little bit stressful sometimes.”
Now that there’s been an official announcement, Kayla has shifted her focus from uncertainty to positivity, as she believes this down time can be beneficial for team chemistry.
“Normally the freshmen come in, we have a couple months to train and we start playing, so it’s nice that we’ll be able to fully know each other and fully be able to play our style together.”
As far as the future goes there have been several proposals and talks regarding a spring volleyball schedule but nothing has been set in stone as of now.
With all but football and cross country seasons postponed, the conference will have to work overtime to figure out how to schedule and accommodate so many sports being played in the spring season.