Lady Toppers ready for first match amid COVID-19 against Mercer University

Volleyball Head Coach Travis Hudson addressed the media via Zoom conference prior to the first game of the 2020 season on Oct. 1, 2020. 

Cassady Lamb

Following the recent announcement of WKU Volleyball’s season opener, Head Coach Travis Hudson and two players shared their thoughts on Thursday.

The match will be played against Mercer University on Saturday, Oct. 3 with WKU’s first serve set for noon CST. The game is accessible to watch through HSSN’s Facebook page

The team has not played a competitive match for nearly 10 months.

Hudson said he is looking forward to seeing the players back on the court.

“Seeing the smiles on our kids’ faces, seeing them happy doing what they love,” Hudson said. “Just to see the bright lights come on and seeing them play the game they love.”

As of Oct. 1, this match is the only competitive match the team will play this season.

“We’re hoping to get at least one more, it’s not set in stone but we’re hoping to get one more,” Hudson said. “Our kids, they need to play, they need the validation of their hard work.”

Saturday’s match will only be accessible to families and selected media, but the fans will be able to stream online.

Hudson said that the team was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday morning.

“Our medical staff has done a good job keeping everyone as safe as possible and at a distance,” he said. “It’s full go right now until we say otherwise.”

The players are adjusting to the changes made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the most part, are staying optimistic.

These changes include players keeping at least a six-feet distance away from each other in common areas such as the weight room and during practices, as well as matches being limited to just familial and media guests.

“We will pull a lot of energy off the crowd,” senior setter Nadia Dieudonne said in response to no fans being able to attend the game.

Each player is allowed up to four family members to watch the match in-person.

“This is gonna be a weird transition, but we’re still ready, we miss the court,” Dieudonne said.

But, the players seem to be adapting to these changes.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s been a lot of hard work not only physically but mentally,” Dieudonne said. “We’re easily adapting to it, being a student-athlete teaches you to figure things out.” 

Sophomore middle hitter Katie Isenbarger said that the team has been following these guidelines for so long it feels “normal.”

“We’ve been doing it for what seems like forever now,” Isenbarger said. “We go into the weight room and we have this box we have to stay in.”

The team uses their own weights during workouts, making sure not to share.

“It has definitely been a pretty natural adaptation,” Isenbarger said.

News and volleyball reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at ca[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.