By CARLOS OLIVARES & CHRISTIAN MOYA
There is no official date as to when sports will return due to COVID-19; however, Cal Poly Pomona’s volleyball team continues to prepare for the start of its season in the fall. Although the Broncos cannot practice with each other, they are working on themselves individually and connecting via online methods.
Head coach Traci Dahl has implemented many ways to keep her team mentally active and bonding so they do not drift apart from one another. She conducts a Zoom meeting every Monday to communicate with her team and has even celebrated a birthday through Zoom to keep spirits up and to have fun together.
“(The team’s) spirits are better. They’re in routine and really focused on their academics, so that’s been nice to see,” Dahl said. “I honestly think we could come out of this a better team, and when we do return to campus, it’s almost like we never left because we spent so much time together in the spring season on Zoom or on the phone … just getting to know each other on a different level versus just volleyball.”
Dahl assigned the book “The Power of a Positive Team” by Jon Gordon to each team member for the team to read during the week and discuss during the Zoom meetings. Dahl trusts that the book can help her team reflect and understand what a positive team desires and requires.
“It’s kind of like a book club in a sense, but it’s all about how to build a really good, positive, accountable type (of) team and I think everybody’s getting something out of it,” Dahl said.
Even though the group has been practicing virtual team building, they are looking forward to getting back to the game.
“We want to be able to play our conference games, have a season and get back to some kind of normalcy,” Dahl said. “I’m very confident in the team coming back. We’re still really young, but we’re really talented, so it’s going to be an exciting year.”
From a player’s perspective, sophomore outside hitter Jazminn Parrish has been practicing on her own and with her siblings to stay active. She said the team is building great chemistry through its calls and meetings and keeps each other updated by doing so. From her reading, she gravitated toward the quote, “Team beats talent when talent isn’t a team” and is planning on taking that with her throughout the season. Parrish led her team with 303 kills last season and is pushing herself to repeat this statistic and win more games for her team.
“I think the team that we have now without the recruits has good culture and when the recruits come in, I’m pretty sure we’re going to keep that culture and are going to have a successful season,” Parrish said. “We might play a limited amount of games, so let’s not take it for granted. My expectation is that we play our hardest, stay on our game and stay motivated during this time.”
Junior setter Kira Zimmerman says that the team is still communicating through social media outlets as well as weekly Zoom meetings. This is their way of staying connected during these unprecedented times.
Zimmerman hasn’t let this quarantine stop her from working hard. She has been getting as much practice in as she can to make sure she is ready to go once they can return to playing. She is very excited for how her team will compete next season.
“The team is looking pretty good,” Zimmerman said. “We had a lot of great players for our spring season this year, so we were sad to see that come to an end. But we are bringing in some very athletic freshmen to only further enhance what we have now.”
Zimmerman stated next year’s team will be very experienced and very strong. “I’m super excited for next season and everyone is preparing now so we can achieve all of our goals,” Zimmerman said.
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