Volleyball team easing back into practice

Autumn Schulz, Volleyball Reporter

The women’s volleyball team here at Eastern has faced many new changes within the last six months. Not only did the team receive a new head coach, but now, as the team returns to the court for practice, players are faced with establishing practice standards that fit the COVID-19 guidelines.

Sara Thomas was hired as head coach of the women’s volleyball in December 2019 only to have her time with the team cut short in March when campus was forced to close because of COVID-19.

The anticipation to get back to the court has been great for both her players and herself. However, Thomas said she wants to remind everyone, including her team, that getting back to the court during a global pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint.

“We just started, and so far we are keeping it light since we haven’t done anything for the last six months together. We are establishing with our new group and new staff what our practice standards are,” Thomas said.

She also said the challenges that COVID-19 has imposed for the women’s volleyball team have been great. Finally coming back together after a long six months is not how anyone pictured it to be, but Thomas said she believes her team and staff have done a great job adapting to the newly modified practices.

“We give long water breaks, modify drills and make sure they get into shape without injuries,” Thomas said. “I think my team has done a great job staying in shape during the time that we had off, so that makes it easier.”

As a new group of players takes center stage this season, they are not focused on stepping up as individual players, but rather working together as a team to keep everyone safe during this difficult time.

“Being a new head coach and having new staff and not having a whole lot of time with the team means we are focused on our practice standards. We are working through a difficult time just like everyone else,” Thomas said.

Thomas acknowledged that maintaining academic and weekly practice goals are very important but the team has one common goal this season: Keep everyone on the court.

“Our goal right now is to keep everyone on the court. We are stressing the importance of COVID-19 to keep everyone on the court injury and COVID-free,” she said. 

The women’s volleyball team looks to start its long-awaited season together during the spring semester here at Eastern.

 

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]