The CIAC decided to cancel full-contact high school football for the season, but other high school coaches in Connecticut are holding out hope that their student-athletes will get to play this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Maryann Linnehan has been coaching girls volleyball for 10 years at Stamford’s Westhill High School, where 500 athletes are signed up for fall sports. This is the first time she’s had to hold practice outside for safety.
On Friday, the CIAC announced their season will take place inside a gym, with players wearing masks after volleyball was deemed a higher-risk sport.
“I think they can keep a safe distance,” said Linnehan. “They are in safe base positions. There are just six players on a side. If a ball comes in between them, they might collide but it doesn’t happen all the time.”
On the soccer field, coach Joe Andrews has to make the most out of the 60 minutes allowed for practice.
“It kind of forced me to be a little more creative in terms of what I want to come out here and do, but that’s part of coaching,” said Andrews.
There is a lot of space between players on the field. He said that in his 18-year career, this might be only the second time he’s had 20 seniors on the team.
“I am hoping and hoping we can finish this out,” said Andrews. “Who wants their senior year canceled?”
Both Linnehan and Andrews said they have no idea how long their seasons will last or what games and matches will look like. Andrews admitted that has been hard.
“I'm kind of just taking it one day at a time. You never know what next week is going to look like,” said Andrews.
Linnehan’s team made it to the FCIAC final last year. As far as this year goes, she just wants to get in as many matches as possible.
“I would love to have a full season, but it’s out of my hands,” said Linnehan.