The coronavirus pandemic has cancelled college athletics across the nation for the fall semester and Cabrini’s volleyball team is just one of many.
With the anticipations of being able to conduct games in the spring, the volleyball team is staying motivated through this unpredictable time.
Head coach Eric Schaefer expressed his feelings of this news as “gut wrenching” when he finally heard the news. He said, “I immediately thought about the girls on the team and how they wouldn’t have a chance to play.” He, like other coaches, had to tell his players over a zoom call due to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.
While this is a difficult time, he says that the team has been great and that there has been no change to the energy the girls bring to practice. He says that there is no place for “energy vampires” at practice.
Stephanie Judkins, a senior exercise science and health promotion major, said that when she first received the email about having a zoom call, she knew it wasn’t going to be great news. “I was upset at first,” she said, “but when we heard there was hope of practices and a possible spring season, I was a little more hopeful.”
As a senior, she has a tough decision to make regarding her eligibility status. “I would love to stay and play with my second family, but I also want to start my master’s to become an Athletic Trainer,” she said. She expresses that she has a great amount of support behind her and that she hopes to figure out what is best for her soon.
Judkins said that being able to still practice and have workouts are big motivators for her to keep pushing without having a competitive season.
Jordan Shemonski, a junior health science major, shared her honest feelings about this fall. “I was sad and annoyed, I can’t really make those close connections since my team is split into two pods,” she said. She explained that she expected this season to be cancelled completely but was shocked when she heard that there would still be practices and workouts.
Staying motivated, Shemonski says, “I am the oldest [of her pod] so the role of the leader falls onto my shoulders.” She highlights the importance of making the freshman players feel comfortable in their new environment, especially now since times are far from normal. She creates an environment at practice that is a safe place for all players, “almost like a second family,” she said.
The team is currently practicing three days a week and are separated into two pods. Coach Schaefer says, “As coaches we are trying to bounce back and forth between pods and give them as much coaching and direction as possible.” He says that it is difficult to build relationships with the coaches and the players while wearing masks but understands the importance of them. As a hitter, Shemonski recognizes the importance of building relationships within the team, and is grateful for the time she has now to build connections with her setters.
The team is trying to stay positive and healthy, knowing that they cannot change the situation. Judkins said that the team overall is handling this situation well and when their time comes to play, they will be ready to go.
“We are doing everything we can, so we do have a season in the spring. Wearing our masks, washing our hands, having two different pods, separate volleyballs and nets and keeping our distance,” Shemonski said.
Even though there is disappointment to the season being delayed, the team is hopeful for a competitive spring season.