YES SHI CAN: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Amanda Shi delivers a serve during a 2019 game. Senior co-captain Shi will be looking to step up in her final campaign for PHS. The Tigers start their 2021 campaign by hosting WW/P-South on March 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
When the New Jersey high school girls’ volleyball season was moved from the fall to this March over the summer due to COVID-19 concerns, Patty Manhart wasn’t fazed.
“I was really optimistic that things could be improving; I know that the direction for teaching was starting off slow, starting off remote, moving to hybrid, and getting more kids in the building,” said Princeton High girls’ volleyball head coach Manhart, who guided the Tigers to a 19-8 record in 2019, winning the BCSL (Burlington County Scholastic League) tournament and advancing to the second round of the state Group 4 tournament along the way.
“So if that was the direction we were going for school, I was hoping that would keep up with sports and by that time we would have figured out the protocol and the safety. I felt good. I feel like everyone is more comfortable being in the building. We know that the safety procedures are in place.”
Upon arriving in the gym on March 1 for the start of preseason practice, the PHS players displayed a comfort level.
“A lot of my girls are in the all remote cohort so they haven’t been coming into school and they haven’t really been seeing their friends,” said Manhart.
“So it was just like this is totally different but we are just happy to be here. I have really enjoyed just seeing them and being back even though the season feels different. There are some things that are the same and being able to get back together to work and laugh again has been really nice.” more