Among the various co-curricular activities at UNIS, JV and Varsity volleyball are some of the most popular sports, with around 50 student athletes involved in these teams this year. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, interscholastic tournaments such as APAC, MRISA, and even some friendly matches with international schools in Hanoi have been cancelled.
Regardless of the sudden changes in circumstances compared to last school year, the teams and their coaches have been practicing rigorously to develop their skills.
Keri Giller, the coach for the JV volleyball team this year, has been coaching volleyball teams for 15 years. “I love coaching because I get to work with students of different age levels and I love helping athletes find something they’re really passionate about,” Giller said. “Also I think coaching sports helps athletes learn how to balance sports and academics, so I think it’s a useful way to make people well-rounded.”
Giller also points out that she had to face a new challenge different from any other year. “A challenge that we face this year due to COVID-19 is that we’re not able to have competitions with other schools and of course travel to tournaments outside of Vietnam,” Giller said. “I think the athletes have done a magnificent job of staying focused and still trying their best.”
Giller explained that the lack of events was being addressed through internal competitions between teams. “The way that we’re dealing with this is that we are working within competitions in the UNIS volleyball teams – JV boys and Varsity girls teams,” Giller said.
This experience seems to have the same value to not only the team’s coach, but also to a member of the team. “Since we were stuck at our houses for quite a long time and a lot of physical activities were restricted, being able to move around and getting some physical activity feels great,” said Christine Shin, a Grade 11 athlete.
“I think we are extremely lucky to have a chance to gather as a team to play. Personally, volleyball is also a great opportunity for me to get along with students from different grade levels,” Shin said.
Even though COVID hardships have been obstacles for UNIS’ young athletes to compete with other schools and further enhance their skills, our volleyball players are still working hard to adjust their practices to the current situation and they’re surely making the most out of it. Go Phoenix!