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BHS volleyball preps for fall

The second year was supposed to be much easier.

After officiating volleyball for a few years, Susie Tverberg was named the head volleyball coach at Belgreen this past year.

It was a learning experience that officiating couldn’t replicate, but she had a veteran team to help her navigate the rough waters.

Fast forward one year, and her second season is looking unpredictable, with several new starters and the everpresent coronavirus.

“I’ve learned to be very patient,” said Tverberg. “Volleyball is a strategic game. You have to get everything set up right.

“I’ve had a year to watch other teams play us and what they do against us. There is a lot more to the game than I thought and more to what I saw as an official.”

Just as the Lady Bulldogs got their fall practice session underway, they had to stop abruptly. Like many schools around the state, precautionary protocols for the coronavirus forced the stoppage of fall practice for 10 days.

“We missed some very critical time due to suspected virus exposure,” Tverberg explained. “We were thankful no one on the team tested positive. We’ve followed all the precautions, but we still couldn’t avoid the exposure.

“Losing 10 days of practice at this time is not helpful, but we got a lot in, and hopefully we can pick up where we left off.

“Right now we have about eight or nine practices before our first game.

The virus has also hit Belgreen’s schedule.

“We had 48 games scheduled, and now we are down to 18,” said Tverberg. “We have had to eliminate a lot of trimatches where social distancing couldn’t be followed in the gym and some out-of-state matches we had scheduled.”

That has led Tverberg to a different kind of preparation than she’s been used to.

“We have to prepare for the ‘what-ifs,’” said Tverberg.  “What will we do if we have to cancel several games at a time? We can’t just work on the season like we would normally.”

On top of all of the unknowns, Tverberg has to prepare a lot of younger players to step into roles vacated by last year’s senior class.

“We lost our setters, and we are trying to get our young girls acclimated to the new system,” said Tverberg.  She said that’s not wholly a downside. “The fact that we are so young and fresh is exciting. They have worked so hard. We only have three players who played varsity last year; the rest are junior varsity players, but they are all in and want to get better. They jump right in and are ready to compete. They love the game.”

Belgreen’s season opener will now be Aug. 31 in a trimatch with R.A. Hubbard and Russellville.