Volleyball is one of the many sports at MC that cannot compete this semester at the hands of COVID-19. The team had high expectations going into the season, and although they will not be playing this semester, the team has still been hard at work in practice. Their normal fall season has been postponed, and while the GSC is in the planning stages for a spring season, it will definitely be different from any season we’ve seen before.
Head Coach Shawna Laurendine said, “… The depth of the team is growing every year …” As the team has lost just one senior to graduation and brought in three new freshmen, they both return a lot of talent and have new pieces to be excited about. Finishing seventh in the conference last season may not seem impressive at first glance. However, the season concluded with the Lady Choctaws’ first appearance in the GSC tournament since the return to Division II, making it one of their best seasons ever and giving the young team lots to build upon going into the 2021 season. When talking about her expectations for the team this season, Laurendine said that she expects the Lady Choctaws to again make the tournament and this time advance past the first round, hopefully competing for a conference title. Junior Lexie Laurendine said that when the team finally gets the chance to play she expects them to “come out swinging and just ball out.”
However the main obstacle this year for the promising young team may not be GSC competition, but all the changes they are seeing compared to a normal volleyball season. While the GSC is still in planning stages for the season, it is looking like there will be a shortened regular conference season and room to pick up non-conference games during that regular season before the conference tournament. While there will be that bit of normalcy, Coach Laurendine said that “this spring will be a little different” as they are going to miss the tournaments and invitationals they are used to playing in throughout the regular season, but with the conference and non-conference games the team is planning on playing they should still be in top shape in time for bracket play in the tournament.
Like everything else this semester, the Lady Choctaws’ practice has looked a lot different; however, the distancing measures they are taking seem to work. By spacing out during practice, not sharing water bottles, and limiting the number of people allowed in the locker room, the team has prevented even a single positive COVID test. So while the season will no doubt look different than any we’ve seen before, the Lady Choctaws will be prepared and ready to have a better season than we’ve seen in a long time.