The coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of people’s lives and sports are no exception.
With the Ohio Valley Conference’s postponement of fall sports to the spring, followers of Governors athletics were left to wonder how their favorite APSU team has been affected and what to look forward to next semester when teams are tentatively able to compete. This week, fans will be updated on the effects that COVID-19 has placed on the APSU volleyball team.
The OVC was one of the final conferences in the country to make their decision concerning fall seasons amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Many believed that with an official decision taking so long that conference competition would still be permitted in the fall, but any hope that teams and fans had of such was shut down with the OVC’s decision to postpone the fall season coming on Aug. 14.
While many were hopeful for fall competition, head coach Taylor Mott made sure that her team was prepared for a possible postponement of the season.
“We were prepared for it,” Mott said on the team’s preparedness. “We prepared the girls that might be the statement that came out.”
Coach Mott and her staff look to use the extended offseason to help prepare the Govs for a bounce back 2020-21 season. Compared to the 2017 and 2018 teams that made the OVC tournament championship, the 2019 season did not bode well for the Governors, as they had an early exit in the conference tournament due largely in part to a lack of experience.
“Last year (we) were just fairly unexperienced,” Mott said. “We graduated a lot of athletes the year before. This year we have a lot more experience.”
The team will be much more veteran-led this season with seven of the 15 players being upperclassmen. Highlighted by senior outside hitter, 2017 OVC Tournament MVP and 2019 second team All-OVC recipient, Brooke Moore, the team looks to replicate the 2017 and 2018 seasons and make a run for the conference title once again.
One unprecedented problem that the Govs may face in the spring is the potential of the volleyball and beach volleyball seasons overlapping, impacting numerous players. Seven Governors that played for the volleyball team also participated on the beach team last season. The OVC has not come out with any decision on how spring seasons will look. The overlapping of seasons has put a strain on how coach Mott is preparing her team for 2021.
“There are decisions that have not been made yet,” Mott said. “It is hard to plan when you do not know what you are planning for.”
While it is hard to prepare for the unexpected, Brooke Moore understands the importance of day-by-day preparation during this time.
“We have to stay mentally and physically [ready],” Moore said. “We just have to take it week by week and slowly get through it.”
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of volleyball for 2020, but when coach Mott and her team returns to the hardwood in the spring, APSU can expect great things from the team that made the OVC championship two of the last three years.
What would have been the fall 2020 season has now become extra practice time for a dangerous and very motivated Governors volleyball team that looks to stand atop the conference in just a few short months.