While all eyes are on high school football, volleyball is all set to tip off their season


Volleyball matches will be a little different with new guidelines

Crestview Rebels volleyball team.

COLUMBIANA, OHIO (WKBN) – While many sports fans are focused on the status of high school football in the area, one other sport looks to be on target to start their season in the next week.

Girl’s volleyball has been hard at practice as they prepare for the start of the 2020 season.  Volleyball has benefited as they are not considered a contact sport, unlike football.

“The biggest challenge is the social distancing and coaches being accustomed to wearing a mask while we are in the gym while running practices and our gym is not air-conditioned so it gets pretty warm in there,” Crestview head volleyball coach Alisha Auer admitted.

“As far as the athletes, they can’t use the locker rooms, so we spread them out around the gym so everyone has their own spot to go to get a drink of water and stay away from the other kids during breaks,” she added.

Auer’s Rebel team is coming off back-to-back Regional semi-final appearances.  This is technically a rebuilding year for the Rebels, but Auer is excited about her team including some promising newcomers to the team.  This will be her 15th year coaching the Rebels volleyball team.

For South Range head coach TJ Irons, this is his first year back coaching the Raiders after spending many years in the Raiders basketball program.  He coached the Raiders volleyball team previously when he first taught at the school.

“Early on, it kind of worked out for me, to be honest,” Irons stated.  “We could only have ten people in the gym for the first couple of weeks.  So we would have eight girls come in and my assistant coach and I would work on skills and drills so for being a new coach it was nice to have that small group.”

Although some things up to the practice time have changed, practice itself is still pretty much basically the same, “When they are actually in the drills, everything feels normal.  We run a pretty fast-paced practice where there is not a lot of downtime.  When we do conditioning we spread them around the gym, so when they are actually in the drills, it doesn’t feel too different.  It’s when the breaks come,” Auer said.

“I think our school is doing it right.  Every day that they come in we have to write down who is there, do a symptom check, and if we have a scrimmage, everyone is having their temperature checked on the way into the gym,” Irons explained.

Both Crestview and South Range begin the season on schedule with the Rebels playing at Austintown on the 22nd and then hosting East Liverpool on the 26th.  South Range will host a tri-meet on the 22nd before traveling to league foe Niles on the 25th.

“We’re doing things a little different this year, we’re going to make that our senior night,” Auer said of the Rebels game on the 26th.  “It’s a home game and normally senior night is our last game of the season, but we have no idea how far we are going to get (through the season).  So we’re planning on senior night on our first home game.”

She added, “That’s the big elephant in the room.  No one knows, there’s just such an uncertainty.  You want to take it like it’s a regular season, but then again, you just want to step back and enjoy being and making sure that it’s fun.  It’s very different.”

The players will most likely space themselves out when not in the contest and will be wearing a face mask.  The officials for the game will be socially distanced from the players, and this year they will be able to utilize hand whistles instead of mouth whistles.

“With volleyball, we have ball carts full of balls because they are flying all over the place when warming up.  So schools are supposed to provide separate ball carts.  So we will have a ball rack specifically for our team to warm up with and we will label one just for our opponent,” Irons said.  He added that separate balls will be used during the matches also.

Teams will also not switch sides following each set unless there is a clear advantage or disadvantage for a team on one side of the net.  There will be only one coach and captain at the meeting before a match, and there is no coin toss as the visiting team will serve first.

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