Photo Courtesy of Washington Nguyen: Junior opposite hitter Washington Nguyen runs a hitting drill at Garvey Park with his volleyball coaches. Nguyen practices in his own free time at the park with other players who frequent the area.

Volleyball prepares for new season

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After the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the 2019-20 sports season mid-spring, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) adjusted the sports schedule for 2020-21, placing both girls and boys volleyball seasons together for the fall season. In accomodation to these changes, the coaches of the volleyball team held optional joint practices for both teams.

Over the summer, the volleyball team met over Zoom to discuss staying fit at home due to strict health restrictions preventing summer practice with each other. As a result, joint practices only recently started and are optional to players as coaches cannot mandate practice under CIF rules.

“We’ve been holding small get-togethers at Garvey Park,” junior outside hitter Brandon Phan said. “We also rent out an indoor gym once in a while. We all split the cost, and depending on how many people go to the indoor practices, the price could vary. It’s usually [around] $10.”

Although practices have been held outside of school for the volleyball teams in wake of relaxed restrictions, the players still abide by health guidelines set by their coaches to ensure their safety.

“When the kids come to practice with us, we check their temperatures, make sure they sanitize their hands after each drill, [and we] don’t encourage any handshakes or high-fives, [or the sharing of] any personal belongings with each other,” volleyball coach Bryan Pagdilao said. 

Despite the leeway allowed for practice outside of school, the turnouts vary due to the unavailability of the Matador Arena, which students find more convenient to practice in. 

“I definitely think it would be more convenient to have practice at school,” junior opposite hitter Alondra Zubiate said. “It’s easier for my teammates and I to get to practice since it’s closer.”

This volleyball season will be different for both volleyball teams, as the seasons will be running concurrently. As a result, practice time for both teams have been limited with scheduling problems and the split attention.

“It will take a lot of hard work from our coaches because we will have to adjust our schedules in order to make this work as well as it can,” Pagdilao said. “The players have to get extra reps outside of SG, whether practicing at home or with their teammates at the local park.”

There has been no information about whether or not audiences will be allowed for the scheduled sports games. The volleyball pre-season begins in mid-December with official matches starting up in January. As of  now, according to the CIF Southern Section calendar, the boys volleyball team will be playing against Garey High School on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in a home game. The girls volleyball team will be playing in an away game against Arcadia High School on Saturday, Dec. 19. 

“Even though our schedule is very tough, it will prepare us well for league when we take on Mark Keppel, Alhambra, and the rest of the teams,” Pagdilao said.

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