Branford has reversed course and will hold its girls volleyball season indoors this fall season.
The most recent guidelines from the State Department of Health listed girls volleyball as a moderate-risk sport. It was previously listed in the higher-risk category, hence the town’s decision to hold the season outdoors at the time.
The Hornets had been practicing outdoors all season. Monday was the first practice the team held indoors.
“It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster. (Monday) was a big sigh of relief happening with that happiness to be inside and to know for sure we are having a season,” Branford interim girls volleyball coach Giovanni Meier said. “The players were super-psyched, ready to go (for Monday’s practice) and very, very happy.”
Branford players will have to wear masks during both practices and games. During the summer, the DPH and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference differed on the category of risk. So the CIAC determined to have the players wear masks during the matches to put it under the moderate-risk category rather than conduct an outdoor season.
Branford’s addition gives the Southern Connecticut Conference 19 teams. The three New Haven programs — Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross and Career — are still holding practice outdoors.
SCC commissioner Al Carbone said Branford received 10 games, but will not play in one of the three divisions. There are already six teams in each division.
“The SCC was able give Branford 10 matches and still not affect divisional games that teams already had on its schedules,” Carbone said. “It’s been a challenge to schedule this fall because of the uncertainty, but it is just one more thing we have to adjust and prepare for.”
Branford will open the season on Friday against Hand at home. The Hornets will be a couple of weeks behind everyone else because of not having any scrimmages or games played previously.
“The focus (Monday) was on getting back to basics in a new environment. When you are (running practice) outside, the logistics are different, the footing is different, the spacial awareness is different,” Meier said. “We will be a step behind everyone else, but we will be there and we will be ready.”