WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – This fall will be like no other at Williams for the Eph volleyball team as they will not have an indoor facility in which to practice because all of the indoor athletic facilities at Williams are closed until further notice, which most likely means until January. "We are practicing outdoors which is really awesome for our team," Eph head coach Kristi Kelsey stated. "Practicing four times per week in the first two weeks and five after that. Hoping to be in the Sports Performance tent at Farley-Lamb Field two times per week as well." Along with having to practice outside the Ephs will also not be traveling to compete or hosting any matches on campus is not a possibility as Williams and the rest of NESCAC has suspended all fall sports competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"First and foremost, we are incredibly excited for the opportunity to be back together on campus," stated Eph head coach Christi Kelsey. "Our faculty, administration, and support staff have done an absolutely amazing job preparing our community in a way that we could safely return to campus for the semester. It was no small undertaking and all of us are so grateful for their efforts."
"This fall is so different in so many ways as we kick off the season for our fall sports with no prospect of competitions again until 2021.," continued Kelsey. "For us, we are going to be an outdoor sport here for the first time so it will be a new adventure navigating that too in many ways. Our team though enters this opportunity with an awesome mindset right from the start…setting the long term vision of what we want for the future, then enjoy the process of being together and working hard to get better each day. We are excited to jump in and get started and will make the most of our time together here on campus for sure."
What is something that you learned about yourself during these past few months?
Lydia Kurtz: I have certainly realized the importance of being on a schedule and staying organized over the past few months. I often have trouble staying on top of things when I have so much time on my hands, so learning how to stay organized and productive during quarantine at home was definitely one of the biggest initial challenges.
Lauren Barry: These past few months have brought a lot of time for reflection on the present and future of the world. The greatest insight I had in past months is my great desire to help stricken down Americans rise from their current situations and have better access to information, socially, and politically. The current climate of the country these past months is inspiring me to pursue political action and change after my last year at Williams—something I gave little thought to before the pandemic.
Anna Wise: I learned a lot about myself this summer. I realized how much I value time spent with my family and friends.
Did you pick up any new hobbies or interests?
Lydia Kurtz: I didn't pick up many new hobbies, but my family did adopt a puppy during quarantine which was a ton of fun!
Lauren Barry: Quarantine gave me a new love for yoga! It's now a regular in my morning routine!
Anna Wise: I picked up sewing this summer and made masks for my family. I also have started playing tennis, which is a fun socially distant activity!
What are you most looking forward to being back at Williams?
Lydia Kurtz: I am most looking forward to doing some of the fun Williamstown-y activities that I haven't had the chance to take advantage of over the past few years. Although not having a season is disappointing, having the downtime to go on hikes, spend time outside, and get to know new people has been a ton of fun and certainly a silver lining at a time like this.
Lauren Barry: I am extremely excited to spend (socially distanced) time with my teammates this semester. Even though our normal season is cancelled, being able to talk and train in person with the people that have made my experience at Williams amazing is something I will never take for granted again.
Anna Wise: I'm really excited for my classes this semester. I'm taking courses outside of what I have normally took, so I am looking forward to learning about different topics. I'm excited to get back on the court with the team. I have never played volleyball outdoors before! I missed playing and being with the team a lot!
What is one of your favorite moments this summer that you learned about your teammates?
Lydia Kurtz: At one point over the summer Allison Frison (senior), Anna Tosolini (sophomore) and I did a Zoom-Zumba session. That was a ton of fun and a great way to stay connected. I also learned that Allison & Anna are much better Zumba dancers than I will ever be.
Lauren Barry: This summer I got to see teammate Gracie Guidotti (sophomore) who told me about her quarantine hobby of knitting. She showed me pictures of her projects and now I'm hoping to maybe get a scarf for Williamstown's cold months!
Anna Wise: It was really fun to Facetime and Zoom with the team this summer!
"The theme of the last several months for us all is the ability to face the unknown and adapt on a daily basis," noted coach Kelsey. "Our team is no different and we are so proud of this entire group for their optimism, resiliency, and unconditional support that we have shown each other to help navigate this time. I think regardless of location this fall (remote or on campus), our team enters this season with a really strong foundation upon which to build for the future."