La Feria News

COVID-19 brings changes to Lionettes volleyball

Varsity student athletes share their thoughts on this unprecendented season

Photo courtesy LFISD

By YVETTE RODRIGUEZ
LFISD

After sports like baseball, softball, soccer, and track had to cut their seasons short last year, most athletes were left wondering if the school year would start without football, tennis, cross country, and volleyball. August came and went without two-a-days, scrimmages, and tournaments for the La Feria Lionette volleyball team. In September, after many meetings concerning the matter and the creation of safety procedures for athletes, coaches, and athletic trainers, it was announced that a varsity team would be able to take the court and compete for the 32-4A volleyball district championship.

Although the extra practice is missed, the team is just grateful to be playing the sport most have participated in since 7th grade.

This year, the Lionettes only have 5 returners in seniors Alma Sophia Cabrera, Sabrina Castañeda, Ayisha Castillo, Reanne Fraga, and junior Alani Garza.

They graciously shared their thoughts on the changes and expectations this season brings.

There was uncertainty about playing at the beginning of the season, how do you feel about being able to play?

Sabrina Castañeda: Yes, at the beginning of the season there was much uncertainty. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play alongside my teammates one last time. Now that we do have the opportunity to play, I am very excited. I am ready to give it my all and leave it all on the court.

Reanne Fraga: I cannot even describe how grateful I am that our team has the opportunity to play this year and for me, one last time. Going into this season as a senior, I want to make as much memories as possible to take with me for after I leave high school. Volleyball has made a huge impact on my life and I’m so happy that I’m able to play the game that I love.

Practice did not begin until school was already in session, over a month after practice usually starts, and tournaments were cancelled this season. Do you think this will have an effect on play?

Sophia Cabrera: I definitely believe that it will have an effect on our playing. However, it is up to all of us, individually and as a team, whether that effect is positive or negative. With that being said, I feel that we have been training harder than ever. With each practice the drills become more rigorous and skill oriented. COVID-19 may have delayed our practice, but I have been able to observe how each player has become stronger because of it.

Alani Garza: In my opinion, yes, the tournaments we used to participate in gave us the chance to experience a much higher level of competition. This year my teammates and I have been trying our best to practice hard every day and give it our all no matter the circumstances.

Was it an easy decision to play when volleyball tryouts were announced?

Sabrina Castañeda: For myself it was an easy decision. Of course there were some doubts about keeping my friends and family healthy, but I knew the coaches and athletic trainers would take the right precautions during practice and do their best to keep all of their athletes healthy.

Ayisha Castillo: When I first received a text that volleyball tryouts were happening, I was happy. However, I realized that things wouldn’t be the same, because of this pandemic. At first, my parents were hesitant to let me try out, but with much convincing and reassuring, I was able to tryout.

What is the biggest change you have experienced so far relating to volleyball?

Sophia Cabrera: I’d say the biggest change for me is wearing a mask and keeping social distance. It is sometimes hard to keep up when you aren’t use to breathing through a mask. As a result of safety guidelines, drills take a little longer to complete. Also, it is difficult not to talk to teammates closely or give high fives to acknowledge accomplishments.

Ayisha Castillo: The biggest change would definitely have to be wearing a mask. Although it isn’t mandatory during play, I still wear it to be safe. Sometimes, it can be difficult to catch your breath after playing, but it is something that we have to learn to adapt to.

What is your goal for the team this season?

Reanne Fraga: My goal for the team this season is to win as many games as possible, working towards an undefeated season. I also want to create a strong bond and exciting environment where each teammate has the potential to do their best without limitations.

Alani Garza: My goal for this season is to WIN WIN WIN!

The Lionettes began their season this year away at Raymondville against the Lady Kats. Good luck on your season, Lionettes!

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