Amidst a year of uncertainties, BGSU Volleyball remains confident in their preparation.
In a year where everything seems to have changed overnight, the BGSU Volleyball team has made it an effort to maintain focus and energy heading into a new season.
In March, when schools were beginning to implement quarantine for students, student-athletes were being told to return home.
Months after the initial shock of the pandemic, BGSU’s fall student-athletes got a call that some were not expecting.
Conferences such as the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the MAC all postponed their fall sports season into the spring. This included football, soccer, and volleyball.
“The initial reaction from the team, they were disappointed,” BGSU Volleyball Head Coach Danijela Tomic said. “We were on a Zoom call and you could see the reaction of ‘wow.’”
At this point though, most student-athletes were told this situation may come.
“I prepared the team; it was a high probability that our season was going to be postponed,” Tomic said. “We talked about it as a team at least a month before the announcement was made.”
But for the players, especially the seniors, preparing for the possibility your final season as a Falcon might not happen is a hard thing to do.
“We all were on the same page where we agreed it was better to be safe than to push forward with the season,” senior outside hitter Jacqueline Askin said. “For me as a senior I thought about it a lot because it was my senior season. I was of course sad when I first heard it (postponement) was an option.”
Though the team was prepared and accepting of the postponement into the spring, the offseason with everything changing was something harder to prepare for.
“It definitely started off kind of weird,” Askin said. “Our team had to be brought in phases back to school. So, us four seniors were brought in the first phase to start. It was weird practicing with just four people to start.”
Some may argue the hardest part throughout the whole ordeal was making sure everyone was mentally prepared. With a season that is in question, it’s important to maintain a good mindset.
“A great thing about our team is instead of letting this thing happen to us and being down, we have accepted the challenge and have been very positive about it,” Askin said. “So, it’s enjoyable we are taking every moment together and second and really enjoying it and being present with each other.”
Between all the protocols put in place to wash hands and wear masks, the university and athletic staff have put multiple guidelines in place to maintain the safety of coaches and athletes. Even with protocols in place, it’s always a concern to make sure players stay responsible and healthy to keep the season alive.
“We don’t have a bubble, our student-athletes go to class, but there is a higher standard we have for student-athletes when they go home or spend a night outside BG,” Tomic said. “Our girls of course will see their friends, but we are asking them to be smart, not be in large groups, if they go anywhere and stay overnight, they need to be tested, so we do have a protocol.”
In recent weeks, the team has started putting together more team-based practices rather than small group exercises. This is something the team has been unable to do since before quarantine began and has been meaningful to every single player.
“I think it was a great experience for the freshman getting to put on that jersey and play a game,” Askin said. “We tried to make it as real as possible, obviously minus fans and our families. We got to shake out the nerves, we all had butterflies in our stomachs. I’m really excited for every Friday now looking forward to that. Putting on our jerseys and playing each other.”
The team knows what it has missed out on though, but still maintains the same mindset and high level of expectations it does every season.
“One of our main goals every year is to win the MAC conference and the MAC Championship,” Askin said. “So that is definitely going to be a big goal for our team this coming season in the spring.”
With the goal in place, the whole team, from coaches to athletes, are now just grateful for the opportunity to be together again.
“We are grateful for the opportunity we have,” Tomic said. “We don’t take things for granted, this pandemic, this whole 2020 year has taught us that, don’t take anything for granted.”