Fall sports tackle the season with adaptation and safety measures


Caterina Pye '23

The fall sports season was full of restrictions and regulations, but team spirit triumphed.

Sacred Heart Greenwich’s fall sports adapted to the unprecedented times of COVID-19, changing the way the teams practiced and competed this season.  The field hockey, volleyball, rowing, cross country, and soccer teams were able to maintain team spirit despite new safety protocols.

The Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) Athletic Directors canceled the regular conference competition for fall sports.  In light of this announcement, Sacred Heart independently ran scrimmages with local teams.

The varsity A field hockey team, led by co-captains seniors Beth Yeager and Fiona Lewis, ended the season undefeated.  At the start of their season, the players beat their rival school, Greenwich Academy, 10-0.  They went on to defeat Greenwich Country Day School 26-0 and, maintaining their winning streak, they beat Kingswood Oxford 9-0. 

Fran Iraola ’21 plays with the varsity volleyball team on the outdoor court.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Greenwich

To adjust to new safety protocols, the junior varsity (JV) and varsity volleyball teams practiced on a court outside, rather than inside the gym.  Though the varsity volleyball team lost their first scrimmage against Greenwich Academy 3-0, they rebounded and won their next game against Greenwich Country Day School 3-0.  In their last scrimmage, the players won against rival Greenwich Academy, beating the team 3-1.

Senior Fran Iraola has been on the varsity volleyball team since her junior year.  She reflected on her final season and gave insight on how the team maintained a positive attitude despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid affected us a lot because it changed our practice and game location from the gym to the versacourt outside at the tennis courts,” Fran said.  “Although the environment was changed, the fundamentals stayed the same.  We worked hard as a team, bonded, improved, had fun, and made the most out of this situation.  I am very grateful to have even been able to have a season which I would consider a success.  Alongside my amazing coaches and team, and the amazing court replacement Sacred Heart provided, Covid-19 was only an obstacle that was climbed over with all the enthusiasm and love for the sport the whole team holds.”

The Upper School rowing team’s season consisted of on-land practices at Sacred Heart and on-water practices at RowAmerica Greenwich, training for the spring season beginning in March.  The team ended the season with a scrimmage against Greenwich Academy.  Seniors Micaela Rivera, Caroline Guza, co-captain Lauren Mirando, co-captain Emma Rose Connolly, and co-captain and coxswain Sam Novak raced in the varsity four boat.

The Upper School’s cross country team was not impacted greatly by the new safety restrictions, compared to the other fall sports, as they normally run outside.  The team had three dual meets against Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School, Green Farms Academy, and two invitationals at Brunswick School and Green Farms Academy.  Throughout the season, the team did three speed workouts a week, averaging about three to four miles a practice.  Once a week, the runners did a long run of about seven miles to build endurance.  The cross country team ended the season by beating Greenwich Academy in their final race of the season.

The varsity soccer team also had an undefeated season, tying Greenwich Academy twice and beating Greenwich Country Day School 10-0.  Next year, senior Fernanda Serna will continue her soccer career at Fordham University while co-captain senior Alana Frederick will play soccer at Carnegie Mellon University.  Co-captain senior Lara Patricio reflected on her final soccer season at Sacred Heart.

The varsity soccer team scrimmages against Greenwich Academy.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Greenwich

“Covid-19 has dramatically affected the soccer season,” Lara said.  “For example, we didn’t have a real league or competition and all of our games were friendly matches.  Also our team didn’t have the locker room or bus rides as a social environment, which in the past were places and times where we really bonded as a team.  However, we found our own unique ways to bond which I think was great.  I think the team took the safety protocols very seriously and we really made the best of the modified season. ”

Featured Image by Caterina Pye ’23