Volleyball Bumps, Sets, and Spikes Their Way Through Season

Juan Ramirez Delgadillo, Staff Writer

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s volleyball season proceeded as normal, and LASA was able to have a successful, first-ever volleyball season.

This is the first year that LASA has had its own volleyball teams due to the recent UIL split from LBJ. LASA has three volleyball teams — varsity, junior varsity (JV) and a freshman team. 

Junior Jennifer Ramirez is a member of the JV team. Ramirez said that at practices, the team mostly does drills to sharpen their skills ahead of games.

“Practice would start with junior varsity and varsity arriving 15 minutes before to help set up and then do warmups,” Ramirez said. “We would do some drills, all wearing masks.”

With COVID-19 still prevalent in the United States, mask mandates  require volleyball players to wear masks while playing. Volleyball is not a contact sport, making it safer to play than other sports such as football, but players are still required to stand near each other on the court. 

“Volleyball, overall, is such a fun sport,” Ramirez said. “Working out with the masks got tough sometimes because it made it more difficult to play. I think that, despite COVID-19 slowing us down with conditioning and training, we all made it work and kept a really positive attitude.”

Although new restrictions are causing difficulties this season, JV coach and LASA English teacher Julia Gritte still enjoys coaching the team. Gritte enjoys seeing her and her players’ hard work pay off in games.

“I have had such a great time being the JV coach this year,” Gritte said. “Coaching takes a significant amount of time and energy, but the players reimburse me for that when they work hard to improve in practice and fight for the wins. Particularly during this year, it was a relief to get to see players in person and remind myself why I do what I do.”

The amount of fans that are able to attend volleyball games this year is limited due to COVID-19. However, in previous years the games often had large turnouts, especially on nights like Senior Night. 

“This year is an odd one because of COVID, so we did not have many fans during games,” Gritte said. “We often had between 20 and 40 fans, except on Teacher Appreciation Night, Parent Night, or Senior Night. Those were special nights.”

Volleyball games take place primarily on Tuesday and Friday nights and often overlap with football games, meaning that fewer fans attend volleyball games. However, according to Gritte, volleyball games are much more exciting to watch.

“Volleyball games are way more fun to watch than football,” Gritte said. “The pace is quick, each play is rewarding with a kill or ace culminating in a point.”

Due to the UIL split, LASA is having to build up their athletics department from scratch. Gritte hopes that the split will bring more support to athletics, especially from students and staff.

“I would love to see our school come and support each other in each sport more than we have in the past, especially now that all the players are LASA students,” Gritte said. “I am excited to see how this UIL split brings out new talents in our students, enhances school spirit, and encourages unity.”