Weathering the COVID, snow storms

It’s been 16 months since the Conifer volleyball team played a match against another school.

It’s been an on-again-off-again season as CHSSA decided how to conduct sports in the middle of a pandemic.

And it’s been difficult when two of the team’s four matches so far this season already have been canceled due to quarantines, while practices were scrapped because of snow days.

Yet, through it all, the Lobos have persevered, winning their only two matches against rival Evergreen and Alameda. In some respects, the pandemic may have been a blessing in disguise.

“These girls are so awesome,” said Conifer head coach Laurie Eddy. “They are excited to be there. The girls are so happy (and) under my mask, I am smiling the whole time.”

Players agree they’re happy just to be playing, and winning has been icing on the cake.

“Everyone has had a great attitude, even with COVID,” said senior setter Elena Eddy. “It’s the dynamic of the team. They want to be there, work together and are willing to put up with anything for our season.”

Junior Marina Cadilli, the libero, said all things considered, things are going well in this unconventional season.

“We’re having a lot of fun on and off the court together,” she said of her teammates. “This year has made the team that much more of a family.”

Middle hitter Faith Hemerley, a senior, said the team has gelled, and players have made individual sacrifices to make everyone on the team better.

“We’re playing as one, not for ourselves,” she said.

And beating Evergreen in the first match of the season 25-23, 18-25, 25-20, 16-25, 15-11 just solidified the Lobos’ drive to succeed this season.

“Beating our rivals was an unreal feeling,” Elena Eddy said. “It changed our mindset to say we could really do well.”

For some players, spring has meant volleyball all the time since in a traditional year, the high school volleyball season is in the fall with club volleyball in the spring. This year, both seasons are running simultaneously.

The high school season has been squeezed into five weeks, with snowstorms and COVID-19 quarantining changing the practice and match schedule almost daily. Two matches last week were canceled, and no matches are scheduled this week because of spring break.

The spring season finishes at the end of April and volleyball camps start in May, so it’s going to be nonstop volleyball until the normal schedule starts in the fall.

Coach Eddy said this season is the perfect storm for the Lobos.

“We have such a good team and a very young team,” she said. “We have the right players with the right amount of experience, so they’re great leaders. The court culture is so amazing.”

Players have endured a lot to make this spring season happen.

“They take whatever they get,” Coach Eddy said. “They work their butts off and make the team better.”

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