If there were ever a good time for circumstances out of one's hands to halt a large chunk of offseason practice, this would not be the time for the West Creek Lady Coyotes volleyball team.
Alas, it’s the hand they’ve been dealt.
After going 18-17 in 2019 and falling short of a District 13-AAA title appearance, Josh Stoeckl’s crew lost their two starting middles – Delainee Gibson and Sirenity Thomspon – to graduation while the family of Main Street Preps’ First Team All-County selection Sinalynn Roberts was given a permanent change of station to Alaska.
The Lady Coyotes are now left without three key cogs of last year’s team, and they haven’t had a chance to start picking up the pieces – yet.
“As we come into the season, we’re obviously looking to fill the void in the middle but we’ve also got to look at who we have in the program that can take over in the middle, who or whom we can look at to be our center or centers we can use for the best offense we can run, whether that be a five-wide or a 6-2,” Stoeckl said. “We’ve got some stuff to look at on how we’re going to put together our roster.”
Since they’ve been kept from practicing due to COVID-19 regulations, the coaching staff has opted to use a Google Classroom to stay in touch with players and offer workouts that can be done from home to stay in shape.
The workouts, though voluntary, include going for runs and working out the core, doing planks, push-ups and crunches.
“I know a lot of girls have been staying active,” Stoeckl said. “We wanted to get guidance from CMCSS, what they would allow us to do. We’ve always encouraged them to stay active. Participation is always going to be individually based. We really can’t supervise it per se, so we’re hoping they’re staying active. I know some girls have been going to the gym and working out. Some girls have been keeping in touch with volleyballs whether it be in the yard or with their friends. Some girls have mentioned that they’re going swimming, things of that nature.”
One player even used the workouts to train and become lifeguard certified, according to Stoeckl.
Once in-person practices are scheduled to begin on July 6, the Lady Coyotes plan to use their time to work on a mix of volleyball activities and conditioning. Of course, they’ll have plenty of learning to do as they look to fill the gap in their lineups left by their departures.
Overall, though, they’re just excited to get back on the court.
“We had a Zoom meeting with the girls Wednesday and all the coaches can’t wait to get back, we know the girls can’t wait to get back, but we just have to do so with a good game plan that’s going to allow us to get those touches and get active with the girls again but also do it in a safe manner because ultimately their health and safety is of the utmost importance,” Stoeckl said.
Though they have not yet made a schedule public, the Lady Coyotes are expected to begin their season in mid-August should CMCSS approve.