It is not at all what they imagined for their last year of volleyball together, but senior members of Amery’s high school team are just thankful to be back in front of the net. Amery has eight seniors taking the court this year: Hannah Van Someren, Mariah Waalen, Drew Granica, Jenna Hendrickson, Sarah Garves, Eliza Carlson, Olivia Szobody and Lilly Streich. Recently some of the girls chatted about being back in the gym, the two-ticket rule and how fans can still support the team.
Granica said when softball was cancelled last spring, she never thought it volleyball might be impacted as well in the fall. “When summer rolled around and things were not going back to normal it made me think we might not get to play volleyball ever again,” said Granica.
Normal summer volleyball activities were cancelled, but the girls did some outdoor sand volleyball practicing and held out hope that a season would still exist. “I tried not to have my hopes up too high though,” said Van Someren.
Waalen said she is so excited the season started, but like her teammates she wishes it wouldn’t have started so late. “I am hoping we get through the season without any cancellations,” said Waalen.
“It is scary to think it could get cancelled at anytime,” said Van Someren.
“We are not taking a single day in the gym for granted. As seniors it is different, the other grades have some more time ahead of them,” said Hendrickson. “To think that we could potentially play our last game and not even know it is our last game, really stinks.”
“We are making the most of it, we have too, we have worked really hard throughout the years to get where we are,” said Waalen.
These girls have been playing together since Fourth Grade. This is the one sport they all play together.
They reminisced about Hendrickson’s mother, Tracy, telling them in eighth grade how fast the years were going to fly by and how awesome their Senior year would be. “None of us guessed this would happen,” Hendrickson said with a giggle.
There have been some great memories made on and off of the court. Waalen said her favorite memory was sophomore year when the team beat Central in the Regional Championship. “It was so nerve wracking and exciting at the same time,” she said.
Van Someren agreed. “I can’t think of another time that stands out as much,” she said. “After we won, the large students section jumped down to congratulate us. I wish we could go back to that moment.”
Hendrickson said what she is going to remember the most are their pre-game rituals: eating Subway, hanging out in the locker room before a game, loud music while warming up and the great energy.
The girls said they are extremely disappointed that each of them are only allowed two tickets to give to spectators, due to COVID restrictions. Granica said, “When you think of games, the crowd is a huge part of it. We love the crowd cheering every point with us.”
Van Someren said she clearly remembers her first Varsity game in front of a packed gym and said she feels bad for the new Varsity players who will not have the same experience this year.
Freshman, Delaney Vold, who is new to Varsity this year, agrees with Van Someren. She said, “I wish there were more people because the more fans there are, the more excitement there is while we play.”
They think New Richmond and Osceola are their biggest competition this year.
They would appreciate the community cheering them on by watching them play on the WE ARE AMERY network. Freshman Mallory Kjeseth said fans can support all of the Amery volleyball teams by watching the games online and wearing Warrior clothing.
High fives are not exactly encouraged between fans and players right now, but to show these athletes support, you can discreetly tug on your left ear if you happen to see one of them, this will let them know you are cheering them from afar and wishing them success.
“I am glad we are at least having a season, it is better than someday wondering what might have been,” said Granica.