In the face of COVID-19, Eastern Christian’s volleyball program stays strong and hopeful for the upcoming spring season.
In the past couple of months, many difficult decisions regarding fall sports have been made by the NJIC conference, the sports conference in which Eastern Christian is a part of. One of these decisions led to the creation of a fourth high school sports season that takes place from February through April in the space between winter and spring sports seasons.
Volleyball, an indoor fall sport, just so happens to fall into the category of sports that has been moved to this brand new season, sparking conversations about Eastern Christian’s team plans for the volleyball program.
Coach Steffanie Honore, who has been in charge of the program for years, has been in contact with the Eastern Christian athletic department to get information on how to go about preparing for the upcoming season.
While she has done a fantastic job in rolling with the punches that COVID-19 has dealt to the volleyball team, she admits that there have been some difficult parts.
“The unknown has been the hardest part. There is so much uncertainty that it’s hard to do anything because there are so many variables,” she adds.
To keep athletes active and interested in the sport, Coach Steffanie has organized a pickup tournament at the ECMS sand volleyball court every Wednesday night for volleyball alumni and current students.
Her motive in doing this is to ensure that the team has something to do during the fall in the absence of the regular season.
In light of the pandemic she mentions, “I think my coaching has shifted from wanting a winning season to focusing more on the girls individually and what they are going through psychologically.”
Even with the postponements, the student athletes try to make the most of this new situation.
Eva Reinmuth, a senior, remarks on her senior season, expressing that she is “sad that it is my last season but at the same time, I’m happy to play with my team and that the season is still happening.”
With the absence of volleyball in the fall, the athletes have a newfound freetime that comes with opportunities to participate in other fall sports, though most of the girls are electing to use this time as a time to get a job or focus on academics.
During this unprecedented time, Eva’s advice to the freshman as a senior captain is “Especially in this time where everything is so weird, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.”
As Eva noted, change is a big adjustment to newcomers to the high school team, like freshman Charlotte Van Goor, who is participating in her first volleyball season at the high school.
Charlotte stated her perspective on this being her first year on the team saying that “the postponement makes me want to play more because it reminds me of how much I miss it and how much I want to play. I am so excited for next year because I know it will be even better.”
With words of encouragement for all of her teammates, Charlotte says “Don’t give up on the season and don’t give up on having fun because we are going to try our hardest to make it the best season we can.”