Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball

Women’s volleyball looking to turn the page from postponed season

During this time, the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team would normally be in the gymnasium preparing, practicing for their season. 

To the dismay of the squad, however, the season along with all other fall sports at Long Beach were postponed after the Big West Conference issued a statement on July 29 that fall sports competition would be postponed through the end of the calendar year.

“Of course we were disappointed at first, but under the circumstances facing a pandemic and for the safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff, [I’m] really happy that they postponed the fall sports,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said.

McKienzie-Fuerbringer felt ultimately it was the right decision for the Big West to postpone all fall sports to see where everyone in the conference is at in the spring. 

According to McKienzie-Fuerbringer, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 council will be meeting on Sept. 16 and is expected to make final plans regarding the spring season and what that’ll look like at that time.

“They’ve got some different ideas on the table. I think coaches put out a proposal and they’re looking at another format,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said.

As for the women’s volleyball team during the pandemic, the team has stayed connected through Zoom and forms of assigned literature. Coach McKienzie-Fuerbringer over the off-season assigned players a book to read in hopes to learn from the book as a team. 

In addition, the team has had what they call a “sisterhood” in which two players pair up, check in with one another and eventually do presentations sharing their sister’s stories on how they and their families ended up at the Beach.  

Sophomore outside hitter Katie Kennedy and sophomore libero/defensive specialist Jade Waskom were assigned to read “The Five Dysfunctions as a Team”.

“The books have been super helpful and Matt [Fuerbringer, the assistant coach] and coach Joy pick out which books apply to us,” Kennedy said. “That’s one thing that has been helping me and I know all of the other girls [on the team] agree.”

Kennedy, also a member of the beach volleyball team, said that she and the other members of the team have focused on self-care by doing yoga, meditation, journaling and exercise. 

An Oregon native, both Waskom and herself, who also hails from Oregon, are currently living with two other members of the women’s volleyball team.

Waskom, who also plays on the beach volleyball, said that she and Kennedy have sometimes played beach volleyball to make sure they aren’t rusty. Waskom added that hanging out with a small yet close group of friends such as Kennedy has kept her sane during this time.

“I was definitely heartbroken [that the season got canceled],” Waskom said.  “It was a really hard adjustment especially in the beginning of quarantine, the whole team was very committed to trying to get better.”

Despite not being able to play in the fall like other conferences such as the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference, McKienzie-Fuerbringer said that she still plans to watch some of the other teams play to scope out the competition.

“If other conferences are able to play and we’re not, we’re going to try to use that time wisely and one of the things on our list would be scouting and seeing how they’re progressing,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said.

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