Fordham Volleyball Keeps Busy Amidst COVID-19



The Fordham volleyball team (above) in action last year, when games were taken for granted. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Gigi Speer, Staff Writer

A year ago, Fordham Women’s Volleyball was gearing up for their third tournament to open the season and prepare for playoffs. However, this year is already looking very different. Paused due to the pandemic, the fall athletics schedule is blank and the volleyball squad is focused on practice rather than play. 

Senior libero Alena Cashdan notes the strangeness of returning to school without games: “I don’t think any of us can even remember another time in our lives where we have gone this long without playing volleyball,” she says. “It’s strange navigating life at Fordham without our season, but we’re taking advantage of the free time we have to bond as a team and prepare for the possibility of a spring season!”

Cashdan is one of three seniors returning this year, along with outside hitter McKenna Lahr and setter Sophia Plett. Lahr is also making the best of the situation: “With all of the updates and uncertainty regarding our chances of playing, preparation for me has looked more like recovering, while still maintaining strength and endurance. This time in quarantine has allowed me to take a step back in terms of quantity of work, and push for more quality with training smaller muscles and focusing on rehab. I believe that this little ‘break’ will actually help improve performance by allowing the body to recover and be ready for full training again.”

In addition to intercollegiate competition being suspended until the spring, Fordham Volleyball’s preseason and early arrival to campus were canceled. Junior outside hitter Joey Landeros highlights the impact of this loss on team bonding: “The volleyball team is usually here by July, and so even going without seeing my best friends for that long was one of the hardest parts. We really get to bond with the freshman and get to grind before both the season and school start. Without a preseason and without being able to even practice so far, it’s been hard to find ways to get close with the entire team.”

The cohesion and connections built by arriving early, practicing and playing together and getting to know one another off the court is an important factor of succeeding as a team and growing as people. With the addition of five new players, Fordham Volleyball is now up to a 17-person roster, headed again by head coach Ian Choi and assistant coaches Emily Lucas and Alyssa Kaufman. 

Although the new players might not be able to experience the “normal” returners are used to, the precautions being taken are worth the wait. “As much as I wish we were all traveling together and having study sessions in the hotel, I know that this is what’s best for our team, our school and our conference. I know everyone is on the same page as well,” Landeros says. 

Sophomore setter Megan Brzozowski notes, “I think we can all agree that this year has been a roller coaster for our mental, emotional and physical health. It is definitely not easy dealing with everything going on, but I am beyond grateful to be back at school with my teammates, friends and Fordham community. Regardless of what this means (practicing social distancing, having mini voluntary workout sessions, eating meals on Eddie’s) it is just good to be together.”

The team is maintaining strength by lifting and conditioning in small groups, and each individual player is finding ways to stay in shape and practice their skills on their own. However, everyone is excited to get back into the newly renovated Rose Hill Gym and prepare for a possible spring season.