Temple women’s volleyball coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam is looking at the bright side of shortened spring season, as he’s hoping to take advantage of the extra training and practice times to better prepare his team.
“We were really looking forward to competing this fall, obviously we have been in training for the last five to six weeks and the players have been working really hard,” said Ganesharatnam. “But we really understand the decision made by the conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic,”
The NCAA has delayed all fall championships until next spring, and the American Athletic Conference followed suit on August 25th giving all member schools the chance to still compete for a national championship.
Women’s volleyball was originally slated to begin the weekend of Sept. 24-27 with a two-division format in which each team would play it’s divisional opponents twice. Three weekends were available for non-conference matches beginning on or after Sept. 1.
“Obviously we really wanted to play if it was safe and possible,” said sophomore middle blocker Kayla Spells. “For me personally, if it was possible in a safe way I would do it but I felt like it wasn’t gonna be cost efficient for everyone’s sports trying to do all these things for us to be able to play,”
Until a spring season gets underway, the team will focus on training and practicing here on campus following all the health and safety guidelines and rules to ensure the safety of players and staff. Teams normally only have a couple of weeks before the start of a season.
This delay in the season now gives the team time to better train individually as well as create good team bonds and relationships with the incoming freshman and transfers. Of the current 15-player roster there’s one transfer student and five freshman.
“Honestly I am trying to look on the bright side of it,” said Spells. “We get the opportunity to do a lot of training with our freshman, get our team chemistry better than we would have had it in a regular season. Normally the freshman would come in for just a couple months and then we start playing, so it’s nice that we can get to know each other and hopefully be able to play our style together by the time we get to play,”
Like several other Temple teams, women’s volleyball has been able to train and practice on campus, taking full advantage of the resources available to them during the pandemic. Trainers and staff have also been taking advantage of Zoom, scheduling virtual workouts and training sessions with players.
“Our support staff did a very good job, our strength and conditioning staff, our athletic trainers did a good job organizing workouts via Zoom, Ganesharatnam said. “We made sure we purchased apps our student athletes could use so they still input workouts in so we can have some monitoring. Our student athletes really bought into that and understood that it’s not a perfect situation.”
As the global pandemic continues to shape and change our lives, the 2020 women’s volleyball team will not let this delay in their season stop them from competing.
“This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a team and hopefully be mature enough when we start the season so we can get into the mix right away and compete at a high-level,” Ganesharatnam said.