Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

GFA's Volleyball Season Starts Out in Left Field

John Nash

The Greens Farms Academy credo hangs proudly on campus: Quisque Pro Omnibus, Each for All. In the far reaches of the GFA athletics fields — quite literally out in left field of the GFA Softball Complex — this motto sums up the Dragons volleyball program this fall.

“It’s been an interesting experience,” senior tri-captain Tess McCormick said. “I’ve never played outside with six people. It’s been nice because we have found ways to bond as a team, even though we can’t physically make contact with each other, and playing outside is new for everybody. It puts everybody on the same level.”

It will be a unique experience, but for all the GFA players just getting the chance to play this fall is what matters most.

“It means so much. Sports mean so much to me,” senior tri-captain Samantha Freeman said. “I love being out there, I love playing volleyball, I love being with the girls, and with my team. Just being able to play ... I’m so appreciative.”

Fellow tri-captain Cayla Bernstein added, “I feel super grateful to go to a school that’s able to support us, make these accommodations, and create these outdoor courts for us. Coaches have been so positive and the players have been nothing but inspiring.”

It’s a slightly different game, though, something all the Dragons players are getting used to.

There are wind adjustments to be made, the sun’s placement in the sky can be a factor, and jumping off of grass is a vastly different challenge than leaping off the hardwood surface of the Coyle Gymnasium.

“It’s been pretty hard because there are factors we hadn’t considered before,” Bernstein said. “But we’re making it work,” Freeman added.

Longtime GFA volleyball coach Paul Groves has also seriously adjusted his team’s goals for 2020.

With no FAA tournament or NEPSAC tournament to aim for, the Dragons are looking to simply build a solid foundation for the coming years and come together under unimaginable circumstances.

“Our new goal, because of the new situation, is to simply enjoy volleyball, being back in school, and not doing distance learning,” Groves said. “They have to take it seriously, but I want it to be fun out here. We’re going more skill-based because it's not as curtailed to preparing for this one game or ensuring we get to the end line as far FAA playoffs or New England playoffs. I’ll be able to get more girls good playing time and gaining experience — that’s going to help us in 2021. It’s going to be great prep season for next season.”

Members of the 2020 GFA Varsity Volleyball team include seniors Cayla Bernstein, Tess McCormick, Samantha Freeman, and Jemma Siegel; juniors Liza Dowling, Allie Farber, Madison Gordon, Kavya Krishnamurthy, and Avery Woodworth; sophomores Lyneta Brand, Annie Dizon, Annie Keating, and Lily Lind, and freshman Devin McCormack.