ALBANY, N.Y. — In any other year, the first day of practice would be as much a social event as it would be getting the offseason kinks out. At the Academy of Holy Names, 20 girls tennis players greeted each other and their coach beneath mandatory masks, bringing a similar energy they’d have in a typical year.
However, hidden in the pleasantries, Head Coach Jackie Fiore was torn up inside knowing that about half the girls who showed up wouldn’t get a chance to play out the season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colonial Council asked all of its teams to limit roster sizes as much as possible to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Ugh, it’s awful,” Fiore explained. “I lost sleep over it last night, in fact. Because even the squad that’s not playing in the matches — the junior varsity players — they learn so much in practice from just the drills and the other players. And it’s just such a good experience to have that team experience with a big squad of players, so it’s gonna be really different.”
Fiore said she wasn’t given a set number to stay under. She explained the team needs nine players for the matches and a few alternates, so she thinks she’ll end up carrying 12 players. Tryouts will move quickly, ending after tomorrow. Those first two days will count toward the 10 required practices teams need to put in before any competition.