Senior setter and NCCU Student-Athlete of the Month, Celene Morris, in action for the Eagles in the teams seventh win of the season on Friday, Oct. 29

‘Gritty’ volleyball Eagles defy COVID-era challenges

November 11, 2021

Due to COVID-19, lack of team depth and various aspects, N.C. Central University’s women’s volleyball team have been presented daunting new challenges this year.

Currently the team has a record of 9 wins and 13 losses this season.

Still, the team has paced admirably against its 2019 season, which ended with an 8-24 record.

In his fifth year as head coach, Jody Brown, described his team as “gritty.”

He also noted that “we have had many practices and matches missed, due to Covid.”

Described as a “leader” on the team by Brown, senior setter Celene Morris also had much to say about the challenges and successes.

“Covid definitely puts us at a disadvantage,” Morris said.

“Last year our season got moved to the spring and during the season we got hit with Covid multiple times. This put us at a disadvantage because we weren’t able to fully train and prepare for the season this year as much as we would’ve hoped.”

Morris also addressed the depth issue.

“I think our biggest weakness this season is that our team is not as big in numbers as previous years,” she said.

“Though this is the case, we are pushing through and making the adjustments that need to be made.”

According to Brown, the team’s biggest strength on the court this season has been “serving and defense.”

Jailen Leach, an intern with the NCCU Sports Information unit and broadcaster of NCCU volleyball games, mentioned that this team’s “offensive philosophy has changed” since last year, and that they have a “more well-rounded attack” now.

Support from the stands has also been a motivating factor for the team.

“The attendance at home games this year has been great,” said Morris.

“In the past, we have had decent attendance but this year it seems like the attendance has gone way up and the energy from the crowd is amazing, and really encourages us on the court,” she said.

The team has just come off a win against Norfolk State University and currently have a winning record of 8 wins and 5 losses in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

This is a big step up from the team’s 7-7 record in 2019, before COVID-19 began to impact college sports.

“I have very high expectations for the rest of the conference schedule,” said Brown.

Morris echoed his confidence.

“We started off the conference pretty strong and we have gotten better every day, and will continue to progress even more,” she said.

On Friday, the team is scheduled to face off against South Carolina State and are attempting to get their 10th win of the season.

The game will be held at 6 p.m. on the Eagles home floor at Mcdougald-Mclendon Arena.

Story By Bryan Brim

 

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Senior setter and NCCU Student-Athlete of the Month, Celene Morris, in action for the Eagles in the teams seventh win of the season on Friday, Oct. 29
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Senior setter and NCCU Student-Athlete of the Month, Celene Morris, in action for the Eagles in the teams seventh win of the season on Friday, Oct. 29
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