BY RACHEL MATHEW
The Bay’s girls’ volleyball team had an up and down season last year, from winning the district championships to having the season canceled due to COVID-19. Coach Ore Pablo said his team was not allowed to be a part of the state championships because Broward County was a hot spot for the virus, and they were not permitted to hold practices in time for the event.
“I was upset when I found out that the season was coming to an end so quickly,” Pablo said. “We worked all season to win and reach the championships but after we reached that point, we were notified that due to being from Broward, we were no longer allowed to compete.”
Pablo said many of the players were disappointed they could not participate in the state championships. Senior and Pin Hitter Isabela Gonzalez said she was upset that she could not advance because the team had the chance to go all the way to the states, but COVID-19 took that opportunity away.
“It’s really devastating [not being able to finish the season],” Gonzalez said. “We’ve all been playing together since we were eleven years old, and to have our senior year cut this short just sucks.”
While they were unable to finish last season, they are going to have a season this year. The 2020-2021 girls’ volleyball season will last a month, with their first game in Nov. Senior and Outside Hitter Cecilia Roberts said their team plans to follow Broward County rules, which also meant that the season would be cut short and have a later start date.
“I’m upset it’ll only last a month,” Roberts said. “Because it is my senior year, and I will not be able to enjoy it as much.”
Practices and games are also likely to look very different compared to last season. Pablo said they are required by Broward County to follow a list of rules for each game if they want to continue playing the entire season.
“A lot will be different if the restrictions aren’t lifted,” Pablo said. “We will have a limited number of fans, masks, and a lot more safety protocols that will be in place. The world has changed and so will high school volleyball.”
Broward County Public Schools issued a statement that fall conditioning was allowed to start on Sept. 21 with restrictions in place. These include practices that are outdoor for the first week and optional for the athletes. Roberts said they expected this new method of practicing and restrictions with Covid-19 still being so prevalent.
“It’ll obviously be different than what we are used to,” Roberts said. “It’s a new experience, so I’m excited to try this new way of practicing.”
Gonzalez and Roberts both said how enthusiastic they are to start the season. They also said since it will be the seniors’ last season playing for a high school volleyball team, their emotions are high.
“I’m excited to play one last round with the girls I’ve known since I was eleven,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve been through so much together, so one last hurrah will give us that closure we need.”