High school volleyball: LHSAA OKs start of season in Phase II

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The LHSAA has given the OK for the volleyball season to begin in Phase II of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic reopening.

In early August, the LHSAA pushed back the start of the season a week from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8 after Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Phase II three weeks.

Under guidelines in place then, matches weren’t going to be allowed until the state reached Phase III.

Edwards extended Phase II for two more weeks until at least Sept. 11 in an executive order last week.

However, an email sent Monday from LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine to member schools’ administrators, parish superintendents and fall sports head coaches updating Fall Sports Event Guidelines said matches can be played under Phase II starting Sept. 8 if certain guidelines are followed.

They include allowing no more than 25 students in a gym and limiting essential personnel to 10 adults.

Matches will still be the usual best-of-5 sets. 

“All facilities are required to be sanitized prior to use by different groups, and face masks, temperature checks and social distancing are required,” the email states. “Athletes may  choose not to wear face masks while playing.”

As of Monday, teams were also given the go-ahead for two inter-squad scrimmages to be played by Saturday.

Jamborees, tournaments and tri-matches will still not be allowed. 

Because of the elimination of tournaments, teams that normally play 35-40 matches in a season will now play about half that total.

Also, with the limit of 10 essential adults in Phase II, no fans will be allowed.

Even with all the restrictions, Airline head coach Regina Digilormo is excited the season can begin.

Matches on Sept. 8 will mark the first high school sports events to be held in Bossier Parish since schools were closed in mid-March because of the pandemic.

Digilormo said she has emphasized to her players the need to set a positive example for other sports by doing everything by the book.

According to its schedule on the LHSAA website, Airline hosts Alexandria in a District 1, Division I match at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8.

In other openers involving parish schools, Benton hosts Parkway in a District 1-I match at 6 on Sept. 8 and Haughton visits Ruston in a non-district match at 5 on Sept. 10.