Freshman Sara Ausbury’s Volleyball Experience, Despite COVID-19 Challenges

Freshman Sara Ausbury tried out for high school volleyball at FHN expecting to make the freshman team, but to her surprise she made the JV team. Her season has involved a few challenges (due to Covid) that she has had to adjust to, some of which include her sister getting sent home to quarantine.


Credit to Scott Ausbury

Player number seven, Sara Ausbury, jumps up tall with her teammate, Megan Steutermann as they raise both arms up, careful not to touch the net, to attempt to block the opponents hit.

By Rebecca Trampe, FHN Yearbook Staff

Sara Ausbury, a freshman at FHN, tried out for volleyball expecting to make the freshman team, but to her surprise she made junior varsity. Previously, Sara had only been playing for the Harvester Hurricanes for two years as a middle and outside hitter, so she was nervous she wouldn’t make the cut for a high school team. Now that Sara plays for a different school and has all new teammates, it took a while to get to know everyone. 

Coach Stonyrae Harris coaches Sara’s team and she has incorporated some team traditions in order for the girls to form a strong relationship with one another. 

“Before a game, each girl on the team says a personal and team goal which helps with better teamwork skills and knowing what to focus on while we’re on the court,” Sara said. 

Another way the team stays connected is by “big and little sisters.” Sara’s big sister this year was senior Cate Hahn. Before every home game, the big and littles give each other food and gifts. Sports teams, at FHN in particular, host senior night for girls like Hahn. It occurs every year as a way to say goodbye to those going off to college and for the team to show their appreciation. 

“Senior night is super fun,” Sara said. “All the seniors came out and their sisters got them gifts and we ended the night by eating cake. We also do team bonding which is where all us girls get together for dinner and a sleepover.”

Though the volleyball team is still able to keep some traditions, like big sisters and senior night, COVID-19 quickly put a damper on fun activities school sports teams can do beyond that. Because of the pandemic, certain restrictions have been placed on FHN’s sports. For volleyball, each player is only allowed two guests, has to wear a mask when off the court, while on the bench and has to sit a couple of feet apart from each other. 

“The atmosphere at a game is very quiet,” Sara said. “There is hardly anyone in the gym and there’s no cheering. It’s dead silence. It’s nerve-wracking because you can only hear us talking to each other on the court. I’m pretty sure it echoes in the gym.”

Sara’s sister, Evie Ausbury, recently got sent home from school to quarantine. Since Evie has to limit her exposure to the public, she can’t go and see any of her sister’s games. Even before she was quarantined, she never had a chance to see her sister play because she has been busy with sports herself. 

“We don’t see each other too much anyway because I have 4-hour gymnastics practices and my sister has 3-hour practices. Since I am home from school now, Sara doesn’t have a ride to school, but I am still able to be there for her at the end of the day to pick her up from practice,” Evie said.