BY CHRISTIAN PHILLIPS
PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN PHILLIPS, BRIAN GROTH & LEONELL POTGIETER
This past weekend, Tiger volleyball hosted two black and gold scrimmages, which allowed a few senior players to suit up for FHSU one last time. Kayla Vitztum, Taylor White, and Tatum Bartels were sent off on the right foot and were recognized by their fellow teammates, coaches, and friends on senior night.
Bartels, a senior from Phillipsburg Kansas was grateful for the opportunity to play one last time with her team.
“It was a blessing to play one last time with my team,” Bartels said. “It was an honor to be acknowledged on senior night in front of my family and friends and as well as teammates and coaches that have been with me along the way.”
FHSU Volleyball Head Coach Jessica Wood-Atkins will be entering her fourth year as head coach and the turnaround of the program has been no easy task, but Wood-Atkins expects great things from her team in the fall of 2021.
“This team has a much different personality, they are nice off the court and they’ll kill you if you are on the other side of the net,” she said. “I think we are gonna see more rallies, faster play and you are gonna see a fire in this crew that you haven’t seen in a while .”
Despite their season being abruptly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood-Atkins has guided her players and staff in an ideal manner through these unfortunate times. Proper execution of COVID protocols has allowed volleyball staff and players to continue practicing within campus facilities.
Accountability has been an aspect of coach Wood-Atkins’ team that she has been very proud of during her time at Fort Hays State, especially during the pandemic.
“When we all came in our whole team tested clean,” she said. “Unfortunately, in August when students came back we did contract it, but they did a very good job of keeping their distance in social situations.”
The volleyball team was well aware of how impactful a positive case would be and how it would jeopardize the ability to scrimmage in front of fans for the first time this season. Fortunately for the Tigers, they were able to wrap up their fall with open scrimmages so fans could get to see them play in 2020.