COVID-19 Impact on Girls’ Volleyball

Eleni Cheng, Sports

Hawaii high school’s fall sports have returned for the 2021-22 school year after being canceled due to COVID-19. Fall sports include softball, air riflery, bowling, cheer, cross country, soft tennis, football, softball, and volleyball. 

Athletes from Kalani High School’s JV, White, and Varsity volleyball teams express how COVID-19 impacted them. 

“It’s been good,” Kalani High School Volleyball Coach Janeen Waialae says. “The girls have been working really hard. And yeah, it’s been great for us to be back in the gym.”

Haylie Kawate (9) is on Kalani’s JV team and has been playing volleyball for a year.   

“[COVID-19] restricts you from like being an actual team if you think about it, so we can’t do much team bonding and stuff,” Kawate says.

Jazlyn Muranaka (9) is also on the JV team and has been playing volleyball for two years. She says volleyball has been “pretty great so far” and likes being part of the team.

“COVID-19 has impacted me a lot, I guess, cause now we can’t really practice that much,” Muranaka explains. “It has to be kind of shorter practices and social distancing.” 

Coach Waialae explains that implementing all the new COVID rules was difficult because it was like an “added responsibility” and an adjustment.  

“I think what was hard in the beginning was the fact that there was no spectators and for the kids, you know I would want them to be able to have people watch them live, and we weren’t able to do that until recently, so now it’s getting better,” Waialae says. 

Muranaka explains how she stayed involved with playing volleyball during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. 

“I went to my local park to practice at the courts there and worked out with my mom,” Muranaka says.

Kawate said she didn’t stay very active during quarantine and would only practice sometimes. Joining the team was a way for her to get back into the sport. 

Waialae explains that it was “difficult” trying to implement the safety of the players and the new COVID rules.

“I think the girls adapted really well, and it was just, it was worth it to come back and have the ability to play volleyball again,” Waialae says. 

New COVID-19 precautions for volleyball include playing with masks and sanitizing after every set.  

“It’s really difficult to play with masks especially being in the gym,” Waialae says. “It can get very hot, so it was an adjustment for me, but mostly for the girls to get used to conditioning and wearing the mask during play.”

According to Kalani High School’s athletics website, our varsity volleyball team has had four games so far, winning two of them. The JV team has also had four games but hasn’t had a win yet. The White team’s record is 2-1.