Girls Volleyball Gets Ready For Their Spring Season

This season has been anything but normal for the girls volleyball team. While they should be getting ready for the playoffs at this time, they are actually participating in semi-weekly contact practices in contrast to playing games three to four times a week as their season was delayed until Mid-February. But that hasn’t stopped them from getting to work, despite the different look for the season.

The biggest difference is not having practice every single day and not playing against other opponents,” head coach Katie Stensland said. “Oftentimes when you play against other opponents you learn what you need to work on moving forward. Since we have been playing against each other it is hard to see exactly some of the areas that may need improvement.” 

Perhaps an even more important factor than the skills the girls have been working on is the team chemistry aspect of the game. 

“With being a senior comes a lot of responsibility and I am focusing on learning how to lead the new team and learning how to support and encourage new players,” senior Ashlyn Ryan said. 

For the players, it’s all about creating a good bond with teammates to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

“As a senior on the team, I want to create an environment that still feels as if we are one team and not separated,” senior Patrycja Winnicki said. “I want all the girls to feel as if we are a family and have volleyball practice as a safe space.” 

It’s a bummer that while the practices are full contact and scrimmaging is allowed when the play is dead, the players must keep social distancing requirements. They also have to wear masks while playing as part of the IHSA COVID-19 sports guidelines for the 20 contact days that were allowed in the fall for all out of season sports.

“Although we can finally scrimmage, we still have to be aware of how close we are to each other and try to maintain social distance,” senior Bianca Madey said. “It’s a let down because I just want to give high fives and dance around with everyone like we always would during practice.” 

The season is months away, but with these contact practices, the girls got to get back in the gym and get the feel for what it’s like to touch a volleyball again for those who don’t play outside of school—and they help the players build up as a team. 

“I am looking forward to playing with everyone and actually being able to interact with other schools through competition,” Ryan said.