Volleyball Team Serves Up Pandemic-Impacted Senior Night


Dyan Jacobus

Senior Celebrations: Shown left to right are seniors Maddie Bartlett, Katie Jacobus. Honor Crandall and Emilie Jacobus after they were honored at senior night.

Keeping in line with the theme of 2020, the North Atlanta Volleyball seniors have experienced an unconventional senior night and start to their season. As COVID-19 continues, many people and events have been forced to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic, and Dubs’ sports are no exception. A season full of masks and excess equipment sanitation isn’t quite what the seniors had envisioned but most feel it’s better than no season at all.

Last spring, many senior athletes were overwhelmed with feelings of disappointment and shock when their senior seasons were suddenly halted resulting from the coronavirus. While some teams found ways to do virtual or distanced senior celebrations, it was certainly not the same as what they had hoped nor expected as a way to conclude their high school sports career. Several months and a new sports season later, COVID-19 continues to alter the senior nights and seasons for many fall athletes. “When spring sports were canceled, I never thought it’d last until fall,” said senior volleyball player Maddie Bartlett. “I thought we’d have a normal season.” 

However, the season couldn’t be further from normal. Some of the COVID-19 precautions include no spectators, masks during certain games, sanitization of the ball between plays, not shaking hands with other teams, and regular temperature and symptom checks before games and practices. “I appreciate that we get to play this season, even though it’s lacking some components that make it more enjoyable,” said senior and team captain Emilie Jacobus.

It’s not only the season itself that has been abnormal but senior night as well. A night used to recognize the hard work and devotion of the seniors usually takes place in early- October, but fearing that the season would be cut short, a change in date was made. Senior night occurred on Aug. 27, about six weeks earlier than usual. The Dubs won both senior night games against Whitfield and Galloway and luckily, many of the usual senior night rituals still transpired. However, only the parents of the senior players were permitted attendance and the celebrations couldn’t begin until the other teams had exited the gym. The players and parents did their best to make the night feel as normal and special as possible. Some even found positives in the modifications that were made. “Senior night is normally a player’s last home game unless he or she decides to play in college,” Jacobus said. “I don’t even want to think about playing my last game within the next few weeks. But, luckily, this year, senior night wasn’t the last home game of the season.” 

Even with the continuation of changes having to be made as a result of COVID, the team remains high in morale and feels grateful to even have a season at all. The NAHS volleyball players continue to serve up the spirit of the Dubs despite the very unusual season.