Volleyball: How has COVID Changed the Format?

By Kyra Harrison

William Peace University offers not only a wide variety of classes and degree programs, but also a variety of sports for student-athletes. There are a total of 18 men and women’s NCAA DIII sports teams. Peace has a total of 889 enrolled students, over 80 being student-athletes. 

This statistic surprised me a bit. I think this is because as a student-athlete, the majority of the people that I am around or see on a daily basis play a sport. As a student-athlete you are involved in numerous circles, therefore, most of the connections you form are through athletic similarity. 

Unfortunately, with the recent pandemic, there has been a serious strain put on the athletic community at Peace. In a normal season, without the effects of the Coronavirus, there are normally over 50 home games scheduled for our Pacers. However, since the pandemic, many of the teams were unable to complete their season or have one in general. 

This season is going to be completely different for us. For starters, all of our games are going to be in the spring despite the fact that volleyball is typically a fall sport. For volleyball, in particular, we had to switch our entire program and make the fall semester our “pre-season”.

Our entire fall consisted of required weight training in the Pacer Performance Center (commonly referred to as the PPC) three days a week, and practice five days a week. They required us to split into two groups and wear masks for the first two weeks during practice. After that, we were allowed to practice as a whole group without the masks while we were on the court; once we were finished, the masks went right back on. 

We did not have a game schedule as we were not allowed to play other teams or travel to other schools, per NCAA rules. We did the best that we could with what we were allowed to do, and I think it ultimately will make us better as a team. However, it was sad that some of our seniors are not able to have a regular season. 

This season has been incredibly modified as far as our practice schedule, our workout routine, and our game schedule. We have not been able to start practices yet, but once we do our schedule has been projected to consist of two-hour practices, six days a week, with our off day being a Friday. 

We are currently working out three days a week with Ken Nilson, starting at 7 a.m. for about an hour. Once practices start-up, we have one day a week team lift required, but to keep up with the physical requirements we typically work out more on our own time. 

On the weekends we will have two practices a day, one practice early in the morning and one later in the evening. As far as games go, we currently have seven games on the schedule including four home and three away games. In a typical season, there are between 24 and 28 games held. 

With the pandemic playing a major role in this season’s schedule we are all disappointed. Although there are not as many games, having a season at all is better than the alternative. Our plan is to make the most of what we have and still uphold the incredible reputation Peace has built. I am personally excited about this season since this will be my first season as a pacer. 

My hope is that despite the lack of games this semester I will still be able to have the same experiences with the team and with Coach Barringer that my other teammates have been able to have. I am confident that we will make this season the absolute best that we can not only for our seniors but for our newcomers as well. 

Kyra Harrison, junior communications major, on Media day.