As we’ve passed the mid-semester mark, all students on campus have adapted to changes due to COVID-19, including the student-athletes. Mallory Potts, a senior on the volleyball team, is facing the normal and emotional challenges of being a senior, as well as those that have been thrown at her and the rest of the volleyball team due to the pandemic.
However, the team is still driven to make the best out of what they can do and are looking forward to the spring.
Potts spoke about how the team came in fourth in the Big East Tournament last season, and she’s hopeful that they will be just as successful this year, even though they’ll be playing in the spring rather than the fall. While Potts noted the major differences between last year and this year, she knows they are taking this time to get better and prepare for the spring.
“We’re still focused on being competitive and driven for our season,” Potts said. “There’s a different mindset now that the fall is our offseason, so now is when we’re really pushing ourselves to get better.”
Between no matches and scheduling difficulties with other sports, the practice schedule is a lot different than it has been for previous seasons.
“20-hour practice weeks is the maximum amount we can practice,” Potts explained.
Usually, they are allotted about two hours each day for both practicing and lifting sessions. What is most significantly different, though, is how the entire team can’t practice at once.
“We’re not allowed to practice as a full team yet,” Potts said. “We’re in pods of four….We practice in our pods every other day.”
Due to the fact that they only practice with three other teammates, Potts explained how the team puts in extra effort to do team bonding in order to get to know everyone, especially for the seven new freshmen. So far, team bonding for them has included “bring their own Conn dinners” to the lawn by the church, as well as pumpkin carving and plans to go to a pumpkin patch.
As for her studies, Potts is a psychology major who is working on getting her prerequisites to attend a chiropractic school. She noted how online classes make it a little more difficult to balance her academics with her athletic schedule because athletes have to create their own schedules and manage their time better than before, but she appreciates all of the support she gets from the academic support team, her teammates and her coaches.
“Our coaches are so understanding,” Potts said. “We have 20-hour weeks, but depending on how we’re feeling and how stressed we are, they’re willing to decrease our hours. They really understand the student part.”
Senior student athletes across the country were given another year of eligibility if they wanted to take advantage of it. In asking Potts if she was going to play another year, she said as much as she would really love to play again, it’s still up in the air. She was admitted to a chiropractic school which she would start attending in the fall of 2021, and while her schedule would be more flexible than it is now, she still doesn’t want to commit.
Potts, along with the two other seniors on the team, is waiting to see how the spring season goes. If the Big East and NCAA decide to go forward with having a spring season, Potts has no doubts that her team will be successful.