Girls volleyball adapts to pandemic conditions


By Abby Bagby, Staff Reporter

The volleyball team was not surprised to find out that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a significant impact on their season, as the sport takes place indoors with twelve people playing on court at a time. 

However, the pandemic did not stop the team entirely. They began offering voluntary workouts to current players in July, as well as grass volleyball, a version that takes place outside, to provide a safer alternative. The team spent a few days a week playing doubles to keep the player numbers down before they were able to move inside the gym for their season. 

Coach Diana Felker and team members have even started an outdoor sand volleyball club at ’Stoga since beginning their practices outside. They hope to use courts near the Easttown Library and begin playing in March or April, depending on the weather.  

“It’s another avenue for players who prefer outdoor versus indoor or doubles volleyball versus six-man volleyball,” Felker said. 

The team was pleased to find out that they would once again be playing in the ’Stoga gym following tryouts for the fall. After beginning indoor training, they were notified one week before their Sept. 29 start-date that they would indeed be having a fall season. 

“I would say it was definitely relieving since we’ve put so much work and time into trying to prepare for (the season). There was so much uncertainty, so we were all really happy that our hard work was gonna pay off and we could actually play games,” said Natalie Wright, a junior on the team. 

There have been several safety regulations implemented to keep the games safe, including that the girls must wear masks during their practices and matches. Senior and captain Sophia Chen does not believe that this has had a significant effect on the team’s ability. 

“It’s okay wearing masks inside and just doing that in order to play,” Chen said.

Another requirement in place does not allow both the varsity and JV teams to be in the gym at the same time during their matches. Felker believes that this has an unfortunate impact on the team environment. 

“Our district is not allowing both teams to be in the gym, which for volleyball is kind of a big part of the culture of (the sport) because we work each other’s matches, and we don’t play at the same time, so JV and varsity are used to being able to cheer each other on and be there for each other’s matches,” Felker said. 

The team began to compete in playoffs for the Central League on Nov. 13. Chen believes that the girls will do well this year, as they have built a strong team over the years. 

“It’s really exciting because this year, I think we have a lot of talent on the team, and I think we have a good shot of getting pretty far,” Chen said. 

Felker believes that it’s good for the girls to finally have a season, despite the required safety precautions. 

“The season’s been going well. The girls have been really good about wearing their masks and staying safe. I think overall, it’s been good for them to have a season, it’s just been a little weird,” Felker said.  

Chen, too, is glad that the team has a season for her final year at ’Stoga.

“I think it was a big relief for everyone, especially the seniors,” Chen said. “I’ve made some of my closest friends in this program, and it’s been really nice to get to know everyone. We’re all just really excited to have the opportunity to play.”