The USD women’s volleyball team this semester had to battle with the question of whether or not they would wear masks on the court.
Before the Summit League, the volleyball team experimented with wearing their masks on the court during their previous games.
The Summit League officials made the decision to not mandate masks. So each institution was given the option to wear masks or opt out. USD allowed the volleyball team to make the decision.
“It was just a decision that we felt was best for us in terms of playing games and practicing. We obviously knew we could play in masks if need be. But that’s what we decided, and this as a program was best for us,” Leanne Williamson head coach said.
The volleyball team gets COVID-19 tested three times a week and wears their masks in the gym, in the hallways, on the bus and on the sidelines of a game, just not on the court during the game.
“We get tested three times a week. Also, we’re kind of in a bubble right now. So I feel like we all are pretty safe. And we’re all making smart decisions. We have team rules we have to follow so I’d say for the majority, we all feel pretty safe,” Sami Slaughter, a senior on the volleyball team, said.
During the game there are numerous COVID-19 preventative measures being taken. The teams no longer switch sides, and the volleyballs are sanitized/cleaned routinely throughout the game.
“It’s been different to get used to but I feel like the team is in the groove of things now that it’s pretty easy,” Claire Gerdes, a junior on the volleyball team, said.
One main reason behind the decision of no longer wearing their masks on the court during the game was because of how important communication and expression was to the team.
“I think given the energy of volleyball, the one thing about masks I think we’ve all missed is just seeing facial expressions and knowing that somebody is happy or frustrated. I think that communication aspect is probably one of the most noticeable aspects on the court… it’s just simpler,” Williamson said.
The volleyball team plans to continue to do everything they can to stay COVID-19 safe, with social distancing, getting tested frequently and wearing masks where it is required and necessary.
“And we’re gonna do anything that we can to play volleyball,” Slaughter said.