Pandemic digs into fall volleyball season as team returns to campus

John Watson, Sports Editor

Featured image: Darvin Nelson

As the fall volleyball season has been postponed, the team knows it is the “Wright time” to get better as a group and continue the chase towards championships.

Head Coach Kristen Wright is in her third season with the talented Osprey squad and looks toward the extended offseason to further the dreams and aspirations of her program. After a strong recruiting season and the addition of extra time to prepare, Coach Wright looks towards the development of familiar and also fresh faces in a sticky situation.

“We only lost one senior last year,” said Wright, “We have really good freshman coming in that have won gold medals, and it just gives them a good time to acclimate and learn our system, learn our culture and be a real contender their freshman year.”

Wright is also the Head coach of the women’s beach volleyball team on campus and as collegiate sports across the country shut down in mid-March, so did gyms and personal training facilities.

As the ladies have returned to campus and are back to practice, many members of the Osprey squad were forced to do workouts from home and weren’t able to access proper gym equipment. An emphasis on getting the squad back and better than ever in the weight room and on the court was shared by Wright.

Photo by Lili Weinstein

“We’re starting in movement-type patterns to get our body mechanics back and we’re putting an emphasis on the weight room and conditioning in a progressive format.”

When competitive play is set to resume, Coach Wright believes the members of the 2020 Osprey volleyball team will be ready to go, but for now training and staying healthy amid a pandemic is their number one concern.

“These girls want to play, they’re competitors,” Wright mentioned. “Their life has revolved around playing and having an opponent and right now, that opponent is COVID-19.”

One of the returning members on the team is senior middle blocker, Emma Dixon, who has used this unexpected offseason to be at the top of her game as a player, and help lead the next generation of Osprey Volleyball. The team used weekly meetings on the video-conference app Zoom to stay in touch throughout the summer when they could not meet in-person like usual.

“Zoom was huge for welcoming our new freshman,” said Dixon. “Usually we’re at school for Summer B, so I think utilizing those facetimes to get those new girls adjusted and to get to know the team was huge.”

Dixon is happy to be with the team again but realizes that there is a pandemic going around the world and this offseason is not just a time to sit back and relax. As the team keeps striving to get better and learn from each other, Dixon knows that getting ready for a season amidst a pandemic will be the ultimate test of willingness to succeed.

“The team who handles it the best will be the best prepared for the upcoming season,” said Dixon.


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