WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–Last Monday, UNCW Athletics made the announcement that they would be postponing fall sports. Those student-athletes were back on campus for the first time Wednesday.
“It was a bummer when we first heard,” says UNCW Women’s Soccer senior Morgan Nanni. “We were all looking forward to coming back and getting back into a competitive environment.”
Men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross county, and volleyball were the sports impacted at UNCW by the decision. UNCW women’s soccer head coach coach Chris Neal says while they would have loved to play this fall, he still sees this option as a positive outcome.
“It was pretty obviously that if we tried to forge ahead with any type of fall season that it was going to be extremely complicated,” Neal said. “When the administration announced that we’re going to have a go at it in the spring it was nothing but optimism. Now, we’ve got clear direction, everybody can exhale. “
The players shared a similar message as their focus in the fall now turns to preparing for a spring season. The Seahawks say it will give them plenty of time to polish up on the fundamentals, while incorporating new players in their system.
“Overall it gives us more time to train and prepare for the season,” says Nanni. “It gives us something to look forward too and kind of incorporate all the new players that we got this year. So, just keep working and get towards actually playing.”
A plan for a spring season has not yet been released by the NCAA with still much uncertainty surrounding covid-19. UNCW says there is no doubt they will be ready to step on the pitch when that time comes.
“It’s hard to predict, I mean we are in a pandemic,” says Neal. “That can play mentally in very different ways on everybody, but we’ll develop some meat eaters by the time it’s ready to play. So, don’t worry about that.”
An announcement from the NCAA on spring sports is not expected until later this fall at the earliest, but UNCW says they plan to do everything in their power to make it happen for the student-athletes.