AU volleyball team determined to make it to the GLIAC tournament


AU Athletics

Redshirt senior Brooke Peiffer pictured above.


On the heels of a season that was lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ashland University Volleyball team has gotten off to a hot start in the early stages of their schedule. With no NCAA Tournament this year, the eagles have their eyes set on a great lakes intercollegiate athletic conference championship. 

“My expectations for this season are to win the GLIAC Tournament,” junior Zoey Peck said. “To play as a team and do the best we can with what we were given and with the short preseason.”

With the limited practice time, the players did have a change of schedule for their offseason training as they had little time to be ready for GLIAC play. 

“Practice time has changed because we are not able to go as hard and as long as normal because we haven’t been able to put in the time during a normal offseason,” Head Coach Kevin Foeman said. 

“So we have had to adjust our workload during practices, a lot more film studies a lot more individual work. It’s tough at times to prepare when you miss an entire spring, miss an entire summer, and only have a half of a fall,” he said. 

The current practice protocol definitely has changed with frequent testing and reduced hours to practice.

“For practice we have to fill out this survey everyday for the GLIAC asking us about our symptoms and we can’t practice unless we fill it out,” Peck said. “Then we have to get tested about two times a week, one at the beginning of the week and one on Thursday when we would leave or the day before we would play at home.”

With the additional adversity of masks, the players and coaches also will miss out on the annual NCAA Tournament that is played at the end of the season. This year, there is no tournament which was devastating for current redshirt senior Brooke Pieffer.

“At first I was really upset about it because I have never been to the NCAA tournament, my first two years was at Lake Erie College where I did not get the opportunity to go. My first year here I was not able to play due to transfer rules, and we went to the NCAA tournament so I really was hoping that this was the year to go,” Pieffer said. “But we will just take it for what it is and we still have the GLIAC Tournament, and then with the american volleyball coaches association tournament that they are putting on is something to still work for.”

The AVCA Tournament is open to anyone who registers and is made up of twenty-four teams. It will take place from April fourteenth through the seventeenth in Dallas, Texas.

Though the tough news may be disheartening to some, Peiffer and the eagle team look at the positive side of the situation and continue to work hard towards a possible GLIAC Tournament victory.

“My coach always says, ‘What you do in the dark shines in the light,’ so since I was a freshman I’ve taken that and just worked as hard as I can,” Peiffer said. “I try to always stay level-headed and push through anything that comes my way.”

Not only has covid-19 affected the preparation of the team, it has also changed how they play and communicate with each other. Covid rules and guidelines vary as the GLIAC is the only league that requires players to wear a mask at all times, even while on the court. 

“We are the only league in our region that has to play with our masks on. The only time we can really take it off is if we are getting water,” Peck said. 

As for the communication side, volleyball is a very vocal sport. With the addition of masks, it can be hard for the players to talk to one another. Coach Foeman says adjusting to these circumstances were difficult. 

“Of course playing with masks, communication had to change. How do we better communicate without really hearing our voices? Those are the big things that we have had to adjust to.”

Through it all, the team manages to find strength and success behind Coach Foeman and Assistant Coach Remy Foeman.

“I have a great group of girls and a great coaching staff, Remy is phenomenal. We have a group of kids that believe in us who work hard, so it makes my life easier,” Foeman said. “Since I’ve gotten here the main core has truly believed in the work we put in, the scouting reports, and I think that makes us successful because these girls work hard. At the end of the day, whether we win or lose, that work that they put in, that’s the success that we are looking for.”