ADHS volleyball plays season with masks on


Ryan Silver, Assistant Sports Editor

Heading into the 2020 school year, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding NCHSAA sports. Although the football season was postponed to 2021, volleyball was allowed to play with a few adjustments for COVID-19. Face coverings were required to be worn at all times by players, coaches and all others in the building, even while playing. While this has added an extra challenge, the team was grateful to be able to play out their modified season with only conference opponents.

“Playing with a mask on wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I think overall as a team we were just happy to be able to compete,” said Rebecca Elliott, volleyball team captain. 

Sophie Misterek, senior, has led the team in kills this year, recording 49 of the team’s total 141 kills on the season, a 2.2 kill per set ratio and a 40.8 kill percentage. Misterek, along with Elliott and fellow seniors Asiyah Ibrahim, Sophie Chason and Andie Lamm, has propelled Athens Drive to a 3-7 record. 

“We’ve missed having fans in the stands, but the ladies have learned to bring their own energy to the court.  They’ve been really supportive of each other which has helped a lot as well,” said Conner Bayer, head coach. 

The volleyball season was reduced from 22 games to just 10 games in an attempt to limit the exposure of athletes and create a safer playing environment. This challenges players by cutting their chances to prove themselves and show off their skills. 

“Sadly our season has gone by very quickly. I’m super proud of them and their willingness to accept a difficult rule for athletes to adapt to and they handled it with grace,” said Bayer. 

One player who shows promise for the future of ADHS volleyball is freshman Bella Lineberger. She has already climbed her way into a starting role for the Jaguars, an uncommon feat for a freshman. In her first year at Athens, Lineberger is only second to Misterek in terms of kills and attacks.

“[Bella] is the starting setter and makes sure that the second ball is placed just right for our hitters,” said Elliott.

Another bright spot is that nearly 40 people tried out for the volleyball team, the most ever under Coach Bayer by far. Whether this is due to students looking for reasons to leave their house during this uneventful time or an increased youth interest in the sport, it should lead to lots of success down the road for ADHS. 

“I hope to keep the interest up and continue moving the volleyball program in the right direction in the future,” said Bayer.