Volleyball in the spring: What about club? | VailDaily.com

Volleyball in the spring: What about club?

A solution is in the works

An Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain volleyball match may look a lot different this spring. There is the possibility of no fans being allowed at high school volleyball contests.
Chris Dillmann | Daily file photo

So when the Colorado High School Activities Association moved volleyball from its traditional fall spot, due to COVID-19, to Season C (aka March and April), a question reverberated from the masses.

“What about club volleyball?”

Traditionally, the ladies play for their high school team in the fall and switch right over to club play after that through nationals in June.

This is where it is helpful that one of the local high school coaches — Whitney Armistead, Vail Mountain School — is also the director of coaching for the Vail Volleyball Club.

The short answer is that the club volleyball season is moving, too. The 15s, 16s, 17s and 18s, the high school divisions of club volleyball, are moving their seasons to the fall and said campaigns will run through January.

The bigger question comes with regional qualifying tournaments for those club teams which also usually land in the spring. The dates for those tourneys from the Rocky Mountain Region and USA Volleyball aren’t out yet, but Murphy’s Law dictates that there will be conflicts inevitably with high school play.

“Our main goal is communication,” Armstead said.

With high school moving to spring because of COVID-19, club play has shifted to the fall.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

The high school schedule is still being formed, but the game plan is flexibility when it comes to club tournaments.

“We’ve brought it up with the schools’ athletic directors and coaches,” Armistead said. “If we have a conflict, we’re going to try to move high school games. We’re also going to try minimize the physical impact of both club and high school, so we don’t overwhelm the kids.”

‘Season of adaptations’

Whatever happens with club and high school, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain volleyball will be adjusting to the new world in many ways.

Season C will be 16 matches which means 10 league games for 4A Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley — home-and-homes with each other, Steamboat Springs, Summit, Glenwood Springs and Palisade this year. (Rifle has moved down to 3A for this cycle.)

Meanwhile, the 2A Saints and Gore Rangers play everyone in their league once and will also be looking for nonconference games to fill out their slates.

What teams will be willing to travel — be it worry about coronavirus or whether Front Range teams wish to negotiate Interstate 70 during snowy months — will be something worth watching.

Speaking of watching, that brings up the question of what to do with fans? They might be on the outside looking in. With the caveat that no official ruling has occurred, there is the possibility of no spectators in the gym come the season.

“Right now, we’re not anticipating having fans,” Eagle Valley coach Mike Garvey said. “Anything that happens that maybe allows us just to have parents or a few people would be great. When we practice these days, we have shared sense of gratitude. Every day that we have an opportunity with our team is a good day.

“This is a season of adaptations.”

No fans may require a lot of adaptation. Families, regardless of the sport, follow their kids ardently. Heck, two falls ago, Gary, Tracy and Oliver Pesso were down in Australia while setter Chloe Pesso and VMS were hosting a regional tournament with a state bid on the line.

The Pessos Down Under didn’t miss a point as friends had set up an iPhone to beam the action across the International Dateline.

Herein may be a solution to “no fans.” Armistead says that club volleyball is already experimenting with streaming games as no fans are allowed at the early season tournaments happening right now.

“Right now it’s tough at the club level because families are taking their kids to tournaments, but fans aren’t allowed at the games,” Armistead said. “The parents have been able to stream the games. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that for high school.”

NFHS.com already carries some of the bigger-sized (5A) high school events as well as the state volleyball, wrestling and track and field meets. It might be a solution to preventing 1,500 people from gathering for a Devils-Huskies match, which is not only a hotly-contested rivalry, but also a social event for students and alumni.

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