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Big Changes for Volleyball

Lone indoor Fall sport moves outside for 2020
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Since the VPA officially sponsored volleyball ahead of the 2016 season, the sport has grown dramatically in Vermont.

“It has grown to be so good,” said Essex senior Jessie Rose. “My first year, the teams really weren’t good, it was us and CVU, but each year a team rises to the occasion.”

But with the COVID-19 pandemic closing schools around the state back in March and research suggesting that transmission is far more likely indoors than out, there was some question whether the high schools would be able to return to the court this Fall.

“People’s safety is the number one priority, but I was upset,” said fellow Hornets senior Molly Ardren. “I was nervous that our senior season would be completely canceled.”

Fortunately, the VPA figured out a way to make it work, but there is one major catch.

“They didn’t want to allow volleyball to be in conflict with the schools’ mandates that they had around the use of indoor facilities, which it would have been,” said VPA Associate Executive Director Bob Johnson.

So instead, volleyball will join every other Fall sport this year and move games outside. It’s certainly going to be an adjustment for the players.

“It’s just really different when you’re playing outside,” Rose said. “It doesn’t look different but the grass is just slippery, you’re always thinking about the sun. We never had to cancel a game because of bad weather.”

“Adjusting to different kinds of passes based on wind and sun and stuff is hard, but just like getting these practices in like preseason is important,” Ardren added.

But there’s also the issue of figuring out where and on what surface they’ll play...and how that affects the game.

“Whether it’s on grass, whether it’s in sand, those are some of the things schools will have to decide,” Johnson said.

“Girls will still be able to dive,” Ardren added. “It’s definitely gonna feel a little different, we have to make sure there’s no rocks on the field which is usually not something we have to be concerned about, but I think they’ll be ok.”

But even though it promises to look much different, the players are excited for the opportunity.

“I’m super excited,” Rose said. “We get to play all the other teams, just have like a ton of fun. Practice everyday, get everybody back in shape, I’m excited for the season.”

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