The outcome of Tuesday night’s Southern Lakes Conference girls volleyball match between Westosha Central and Elkhorn Area was secondary.
The main story was the fact that they were even playing.
With the majority of area conferences shutting down the fall high school sports season due to COVID-19 concerns, the Southern Lakes opted for a conference-only season for fall sports, including girls volleyball.
Elkhorn hosted an indoor athletic event for the first time since early March, and although Westosha swept the match 3-0, getting back on the court wasn’t about winning or losing.
“Getting to this point was not easy,” Elkhorn coach Sydney Racky said. “That’s why we’re so thankful to be able to play tonight. Hopefully everyone comes out of this safe, and we don’t have any positive tests going forward.
“Once we started playing, and that’s what I tried to tell the girls during our first timeout, it was just like any other volleyball that they’ve played. The game is the same.”
The game was the same, but COVID guidelines and mandates made things seem a bit strange at first.
All players and coaches, whether they were on the court or on the bench, were required to wear masks per Southern Lakes rules.
Spectators were also not allowed in the gym without a mask. Teams stayed on their benches for all three games rather than switching after each, and players did not shake hands with the opposing team before or after the match as has been customary.
Westosha coach Megan Awe echoed Racky’s thoughts on being back.
“Everything has been so day-to-day with all of this,” Awe said. “In July, we weren’t sure we were going to play. In August, we still didn’t know, and when September rolled around, I think the kids finally realized that it was going to happen.
“I’m just so happy for our kids that they finally got to be on the court. Today couldn’t get here fast enough for them.”
The WIAA reported 75% of the state’s girls volleyball teams (354 total) opted to play this fall, while 25% (120) opted for the truncated season next spring. But locally, the Big Eight, Rock Valley and Badger conferences all opted out of the fall season.
Tuesday’s match in Elkhorn was dominated by the Falcons and Lauren Foerster. The junior had a match-high 12 kills and did much of her damage from the back row.
Westosha pulled away late in Game 1 for a 25-21 win and rolled to 24-16 and 25-12 victories in the final two games.
“We’re very capable of playing at the level that they (Westosha) did, and that’s what I told the team afterward,” Racky said. “But being capable and actually going out and executing are two different things.
“We’ll get better and learn from this, because there’s talent on this team. And with everything else that’s going on, this was also the first varsity action for some of these girls.”
Elkhorn is back in action Thursday at Wilmot.
WESTOSHA 3, ELKHORN 0
Westosha Central 25 25 25
Elkhorn 21 16 12
Leaders: Aces—Karis Bridleman (W) 5. Kills—Lauren Foerster (W) 12, Dillyn Ivey (E) 11. Assists—Sydney Selburg (W) 25, Anna Pyle (E) 14.