How many scouting reports will get thrown into the trash this season – or at least shelved for a few days – because athletic events are disrupted by COVID?
Hood River Valley’s volleyball team chalked up its first such case last week. Its weekend matches were postponed following a positive COVID test of a junior varsity player, which idled the Eagles in quarantine.
HRV had opened its belated season March 2 with a win at Redmond, but instead of following up with a Saturday home match against Crook County, the players are stuck at their homes until the quarantine is lifted, Coach Courtney Harvey said.
“The plan was to take this week to focus on our attacking, but now we're stuck at home,” Harvey said. “The cool thing about this team, though, is they're committed to getting better even in quarantine, so we're getting creative and working on some stuff at home. That way we're ready to compete as soon as we can.”
HRV was definitely ready to compete at Redmond, where the Eagles won, 25-13, 13-25, 25-17, 25-23. “We came out of the gate really strong and dominated the first set,” Harvey said. “The second set, I tried to give a couple more girls playing time, and I think it threw the team chemistry off with the normal starters which is something they're going to have to learn to overcome.
“I told them during a timeout in the second set that any team can get excited about winning and keep that momentum going, but I love a team who can make a comeback. I really wanted to see them push back that second set, but it just didn't happen for us.”
HRV righted things in sets three and four. “Emma (Kroll), Kayla (Sheasby) and Morgan (Baker) did a great job in serve receive and put up some really good balls for the setters, but our offense was definitely lacking,” Harvey said. Once the Eagles get back in the gym together, Harvey said the focus will be offense, as well as block coverage.
The first-year coach also mentioned the play of reserve Jesse Nickelsen against Redmond. “She didn’t get a ton of playing time Tuesday night, but I put her in, cold off the bench, and she served our last three serves of the match for us which, looking back, probably wasn’t fair of me to expect her to do that, but she came through for us.
“I was most impressed with the girls and their ability to stay excited in an empty gym. I know as an athlete, a loud, enthusiastic crowd can really hype you up, so I was worried about energy levels going into this match, but the girls cheered and encouraged each other all night. Honestly, I had about lost my own voice by the end of the night.”
In that regard, perhaps the COVID break came at a good time, after all.