Volleyball returns in full swing

Yellow Teir sport resume practices, games


Tala El Qadah

Donnalie Yap spikes the ball against San Domenico on May 17. According to COVID-19 protocols, 14 households with two people per household joined to watch the game in-person.

Clara Bonomi, Reporter

As COVID-19 cases drop and vaccinations increase in San Francisco, more and more athletes are pulling on their shin guards, knee pads and swim caps.

Volleyball athletes were permitted to return to practices and competitions on May 3 and, because San Francisco entered the Yellow Tier as of May 4, the sport is cleared to run practices and games.

“Practices have been going really well actually,” senior Catherine Baker said. “We divide up time with the basketball team in the gym so that both teams can get some time in there. We also open up all the windows so I think everything is kept pretty safe.”

Indoor sport athletes, including volleyball and basketball players, are required to be screened for COVID-19 once every two weeks and must submit their results on the tracking document, according to an email sent by Dana Kuwahara, Head of Athletics and Physical Education. The school requirement, however, states that students who are not participating in an indoor sport only need to get screened every four weeks.

“I’m really excited to get back into the swing of competing,” sophomore Samantha Calvin said. “Being involved in games and just sports in general is such a big part of students’ lives that it felt strange to be separated from it for so long.”

All in-person spring sport practices and competitions were cancelled last season on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so making sure that all volleyball athletes have a full and authentic season this year is important, according to head volleyball coach Kutis Wong.

“When you’re someone on the outside looking in, success is always winning, which is always important to the fans and will always be one of our top goals,” Wong said. “Having the seniors actually get a season is of course important as well after what happened last year.”

The Broadway gym allows 14 households with two people per household to attend individual games. Households have an assigned spectator box that they will be required to remain in during the game, according to the email sent by Kuwahara.

Families may use a link distributed by Kuwahara to sign up for a box. Senior families will be given priority and all remaining spots will be given out by a lottery if needed.

“I have definitely missed the feeling of being in a gym full of fans and experiencing that type of energy,” junior Shana Ong said. “It is nice to know that some household members can now watch live and that the school can broadcast it so students and families can watch and support from home while staying safe.”

Away and home games are live streamed and the links are accessible via YouTube. The season will continue until June 4 and includes other sports such as swimming, soccer, fencing, basketball and beach volleyball. 

“It’s just so nice to be back into the routine of practicing after so long,” Baker said. “There’s always a really nice collective and supportive energy among the team.”