SWOSU Volleyball update, podcast, with Head Coach Josh Collins, and senior Emma Cohalla
Updated: Sep 30
The SWOSU Volleyball team would usually be halfway and nearly done with their 2020 season, although this year, COVID-19 had different plans. Head Coach Josh Collins and senior middle blocker Emma Cohalla discuss how they have handled the pandemic and what the team looks like heading into the 2021 calendar year.
Coach Collins said that when they ended in the spring, they were in a vigorous training period; lifting everyday, going hard in practice and were ready for a break.
“Everyone is ready for a break, probably more from class than volleyball,” Collins said. “We got to spend a whole lot of time at home. I think that was a blessing on all sides, because we got to be with our families, but we also realized what we missed and what we loved about being together here at Southwestern.”
The volleyball team finished last year with a 16-12 overall record, but going an impressive 12-4 in the conference. Having a disappointing early first round exit from the Great American Conference Tournament, the team came back hopeful to continue last year's regular season success, but was cut short due to COVID-19.
Senior Emma Cohalla talked about how she has battled injuries and was able to have shoulder surgery this off-season thanks to the pandemic.
“I found myself getting in slumps of anger and then frustration, and sadness, but more or less, trying to find the peaks of each day,” Cohalla stated. “I got to be home with my family, I got to get a puppy… because life just halted.”
Cohalla really emphasized on taking the positive things out of the negative energy surrounding us. She also spoke about how SWOSU has been a family. She said that she is far from home, but the people here, her teammates, coaches, and friends have helped her find a home here at SWOSU.
Collins touched on the way things are and how the freshman have had time to get their feet wet. Usually, the start of the school year is just a few days before they start playing. Collins commented on how “unique” this situation has been.
“Typically, for us, especially for an incoming freshman or transfer, it’s almost like doing a polar plunge,” laughed Collins. “As soon as you step foot on this campus, we are in 100% go mode.”
Collins called it a “fun change” and is excited for the spring season. He is also happy that the freshmen have been able to slow down the process and create the family atmosphere that characterizes SWOSU.
Cohalla talked about how it was, at first, really difficult to accept that they aren’t playing right now, but she has seen it as a blessing in disguise.
“Me, and the returners, have talked about being a student-athlete. You are a ‘student’-athlete. We’ve never had the time to focus on classes when they start,” explained Cohalla. “It’s always, ‘we are here for volleyball’.”
She said that it has been really helpful to be able to focus more on the school side, while not having to strain herself by trying to balance both.
Coach Collins touched a little bit on a potential spring season, but he said we will see when we get there. They both said they were excited, but just trying to take it one day at a time.