It is no secret that COVID-19 has affected everyone on the planet.
For some, the affects have been fatal and life changing. And for some, the affects have been a slight inconvenience.
And in between the spectrum of those two extreme levels, COVID-19 has disrupted the lives and routines of many of our local athletes.
Spring sports in 2020 was totally wiped out, prematurely ending all high school senior athletic carers.
And while the fall sport athletes probably felt fortunate to get a chance to participate in athletics in 2020, COVID-19 still disrupted many high school athletic careers and seasons.
Each week, throughout the state, football, soccer and volleyball games were being canceled because of COVID-19 infections and COVID-19 related quarantines.
Before the volleyball season even started, the entire Somerset High School volleyball team was quarantined for 14 days - which resulted in a sluggish start to the Lady Jumpers' 2020 season.
And as the already shortened volleyball season started to wind down, the Pulaski County High School volleyball team was quarantined - at perhaps the worst time imaginable - for the last two weeks of the regular season. The Lady Maroons were fortunate enough to get to participate in post-season play, but missing the final two weeks of the regular season took a physical and emotional toll on the talented young athletes.
Pulaski County High School veteran volleyball coach Teresa Combs described the 2020 season as an 'emotional rollercoaster'.
"We have battled so much adversity this season that no one knows about," Combs stated.
After not touching a volleyball or playing together for an entire 14 straight days, the Lady Maroons were able to pull out a tough win against the homestanding Casey County Lady Rebels in the opening round of 47th District Tournament - giving them the chance to play in this week's 12th Region Tournament at West Jessamine High School. But the Lady Maroons were not able to pull out the win over cross-town rivals Southwestern in their 12th Region Tournament opening-round match-up on Tuesday.
"Our entire team faced great adversity this season," Combs stated. "We were quarantined for two weeks and had we gotten the number-one seed we would not have been able to play in the district tournament. We had one day to practice and then went into district tournament play."
"On region game day, at 3 o’clock, I got a call with the possibility of us not being able to play our first game in region; so another instance of uncertainty five hours before we were to play," Combs explained. "Our girls have been resilient in all of this, because it literally has been day-to-day for our team now for almost a month."
"We lost the last two weeks of matches at the end of our season, so we went into region with only our two district matches under our belt," Combs said. "The girls worked out via Zoom to stay in shape and kept contact with each other to maintain that team connection."
And just one day out of quarantine, the Lady Maroons lost a key player due to another COVID-related issue.
For Pulaski County High School seniors Abby Burns, Lindsey Horn, Molli Nelson, Lyndsey Parmelee, and Linsey Simpson it was a tough blow having to end their high school carers. The Pulaski County High School 2020 volleyball seniors did not get to play and spend that precious time with their teammates during the last two weeks of their final season.
Despite nearly unsurmountable adversity, this Lady Maroons volleyball class of seniors had an outstanding run in the 'maroon and white' volleyball uniforms. Over the past four seasons, they accounted for 76 wins, three 47th District Tournament championship titles, two 12th Region Tournament semifinal appearances and a 12th Region Tournament runner-up title.
For the first three years of their varsity careers, the Pulaski County High School volleyball class of 2020 enjoyed healthy 35-game seasons. In their final season of their prep careers, the Lady Maroons only played 14 games and had to cancel a total of six games due to COVID-related issues.
"The senior class I thought did an outstanding job of maintaining their sense of composure with all of the uncertainty surrounding them every day and continued to lead this young group of players," Combs stated. "This year will be an experience we will all share forever and I hope most of all they realize they can persevere even through the most difficult times and know in their hearts they are strong young women who were made to do hard things and worthy of great things."
"I’m always proud to be part of Pulaski County High School volleyball," Combs stated. "This season has renewed my faith that there are teams with individuals who want what’s best for the group as a whole and we couldn’t be prouder of our seniors for leaving that legacy for the future of the Pulaski County volleyball program."
Pulaski County High School seniors Abby Burns, Lindsey Horn, Molli Nelson, Lyndsey Parmelee, and Linsey Simpson will be long remembered in the history of the Lady Maroons volleyball program for the way they handled extreme adversity in their final prep season.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.