Girls’ volleyball beats Kennedy in three sets

Masks prove challenging to play in


Jane Pupeza

SLP girls’ volleyball celebrates after scoring another point against Bloomington Kennedy during the Oct. 13 match. Park won with a final set score of 3-0.

Harris Keekley and Colin Canaday

Winning in three sets, girls’ volleyball beat Bloomington Kennedy Oct. 13.

According to Head Coach Emily Minnick, a primary factor that led to the win was maintaining energy.

“We just stayed focused on the basics and never let up our intensity on our side of the net, no matter what was going on at the other side of the court,” Minnick said.

Senior captain Hannah Howell said the team excelled at playing as a unit to the best of their abilities.

“We played really well, we stuck together, we trusted each other and we played our hardest,” Howell said.

According to Minnick, COVID-19 has affected the team’s bonding, and it can often be difficult to employ certain strategies while still trying to maintain some level of social distancing and safe practices.

“(The girls) have to practice in a mask and have to socially distance and in volleyball. Everyone knows that half the game is about momentum and making sure that you’re coming in and huddling with each other, and we have had to get them away from that to some extent,” Minnick said. “We want them to stay supportive of each other, but they have to stay as far socially distant as they can. So, that has just affected the emotional side of things rather than the play side of things.”

Senior Anna Bauer said that although playing is tougher when forced to wear masks, it has resulted in something positive.

“We had to take a lot more water breaks because of the masks, and we had to learn to talk louder, which has actually been good in games,” Bauer said.

Starting practice so soon before the beginning of the season, Minnick said that although it was difficult getting started, she was prepared.

“It was definitely a rush, but I was proactive in thinking that the season might be moved back, such that during our fall training sessions and in our summer open-gyms, I was constantly preaching the importance of coming and being in attendance of those (practices),” Minnick said.

According to Bauer, playing in a new, foreign environment was tough for the team at times.

“We got down on ourselves a few times, but we were able to pick ourselves up even in the environment. It was a big gym, so there wasn’t a lot of sound,” Bauer said.

The next girls’ volleyball game is at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 against Chanhassen at home.