CARVER- Carver volleyball finished its first season as a program last year with plenty of reason to be excited for their second. Trouble is, they will have to wait a few months longer before they can take to the court again.
The decision was recently made that volleyball would join football and fall cheer in the move to Fall II, a season lodged between the winter and the spring.
Head coach Morgan Bardetti reacted to the delay of her team’s season and how it all landed for her when the news broke.
“At first, I was a little disappointed because, of course, I wanted to get started with the girls right away like we were expecting. But, after some time to reflect on it, I think it will be a positive for our team because with the restrictions right now, volleyball would look a little different on the court. We wouldn’t really be able to have any spectators, so I’m hoping by delaying our season that we’ll be able to go back to how volleyball traditionally looks like. I know some of the rules about hitting and being close to the net have been restricted so maybe by February, we’ll be able to lift a few of those restrictions and it’ll end up being more like what we’re used to.”
As Bardetti noted, volleyball was set to endure its fair share of changes had it been slated to start on schedule. Volleyball simply wouldn’t be the same with a potential limited proximity to the net and having spectators in the stands is always a plus – warranting the delay.
Since the end of the team’s inaugural season last year, Carver announced that volleyball would now have an official varsity team. The program had previously only played a handful of opponents to lay a solid foundation for this year, but it didn’t qualify as a varsity sport at Carver until now.
“We didn’t know what to expect at first and it was a brand new sport for every single one of us,” Bardetti said. “I think it was such a great thing to come away from the season with a winning record and a team that had really bonded and had learned and mastered all of the new techniques together. I was mostly impressed by how well the girls worked as a team and having the winning record was really just a bonus in our first year.”
In the emergence of a full varsity squad, a set of two new captains came onto the scene. Seniors Ava Condon and Jordan Vitale were met with the challenge of keeping the team together in an offseason unlike any other.
“I have two fantastic captains. Ava and Jordan were in constant communication with me throughout the spring and over the summer. We conducted our first fundraiser as a team to raise money for our first varsity season. I know Ava and Jordan conducted captains’ practice once we got clearance from the athletic department, and there were restrictions on that. The two of them are two of the most responsible young women I’ve ever worked with and I know they did a fantastic job keeping the team together,” Bardetti said.
In such a small school like Carver, the number of players can become a growing problem for programs year in and year out. A team can have a streamline of players come in and make their presence felt immediately and other programs experience the opposite end of that spectrum. With sports being moved to Fall II, students can now participate in four athletic seasons rather than the traditional three – potentially freeing them up to participate in sports they haven’t tried before. The support for volleyball specifically has been felt thus far.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for athletes being able to participate in all four seasons and get to try a bunch of new sports that they normally wouldn’t be available for. Based on our initial sign up, we did a Zoom call right before school ended in May to gauge some interest and I have about 45 names from the spring so I think our numbers may be really strong by the time Fall II rolls around,” she said.
In addition to coaching the volleyball team, Bardetti also teaches English at Carver Middle High School. She remembers when the virus first hit back in March when a few mere delays of school evolved into the cancellation a few weeks later.
“I think that first day in March when we heard we weren’t coming back, over the long weekend it was a few days off, and then it kept getting extended and extended. We were all kind of shocked and concerned at how serious this was. The teachers didn’t want to be out for the entire spring, we really missed our kids and our athletes, but we knew it was the safe and smart decision. I think our remote, hybrid, and in-person learning will definitely be a challenge as well, but I know our students here at Carver always rise to the challenge and our teachers are really supportive of our kids and their families. I think we’ll be able to do what we always do – learning will happen, collaboration will happen. Even if it has to look a little bit different, I’m confident this year can still be a success.”