Despite School Closure and Zoom Bombing, LHS Volleyball Spikes the Odds and Maintains Focus on Team Spirit

The Livermore High School athletic department has stated that until further notice, all sports programs are on hold pending approval from the Alameda County Board of Health. For the volleyball teams, this has left them in a sort of limbo as they try to keep up their training and stay in shape while they await clearance to resume their season. 

The volleyball season at LHS usually starts around the same time the school year does.  But due to the ripple effect of COVID-19 the volleyball season has been postponed. 

Despite the setbacks, both players and coaches said they have done everything they can to keep spirits up and the teams connected. When the season was initially postponed, the volleyball community brainstormed ideas to schedule socially distanced practices, using Instagram and other social media platforms to keep the players updated and planned video calls to help the players bond with each other. 

However, when it came time for the first video call between the members of the Girls Volleyball program, things were cut short when their call got Zoom bombed by unidentified male voices who yelled racist and sexist slurs and statements while laughing, according to players and coaches. 

“It was very uncalled for and I’m thinking that it was kids thinking that they were funny. They said a bunch of racist things which came after multiple girls on the volleyball team, and it was not ok.” said Summer Gryszowka (10). 

Due to the incidents, the team has had to halt all Zoom meetings. Assistant Varsity Coach for girls and boys volleyball Meghan Cooney said, “The volleyball program has been dealing with a hijacking, and personal attacks on some of our players. So that has prevented us from doing Zoom calls or even allowing comments on our posts [on social media]. We are just trying to be super safe and protect people right now, so we have not been doing group things really, but trying to support players on a more individual basis.” 

Despite these setbacks the individual players said they have stayed strong and not let these problems stop them from practicing. “I have this wall that I just hit against to pass back to myself,” said Brooke Carter, Girls Varsity Team Captain. “For me, ball control is really important because I know once I get back in the gymnasium it’s going to be really rough with getting serves because we haven’t been getting served at.”

It can be difficult for players to maintain the full range of practice they need at home. “Volleyball is something you need equipment for…  but hopefully the guys and girls are doing their ‘homework’ as we call it,” said Coach Rodriguez, Head Varsity Coach for Girls and Boys. 

The “homework” he is referring to are the instructional videos posted by the coaches for the players. The coaches have posted some videos to the volleyball team Instagram account, which are instructions for workouts to keep the players in shape and conditioned for when the season finally happens. 

Whenever and however the season is allowed to start back up, a variety of safety measures will have to be in place, possibly including the use of masks, screening temperature, cleaning procedures and more. These rules will be set by the County Board of Health as part of general school reopening requirements.