The women’s bas­ketball team prac­tices and pre­pares for its upcoming season.

The Hillsdale College women’s bas­ketball team expected to kick off its season with two home games against Ken­tucky Wes­leyan Uni­versity and Trevecca Nazarene Uni­versity this week. Both of those games were can­celed, however, due to pos­itive cases COVID-19 on the opposing teams. Now instead, the Chargers will travel to the Uni­versity of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Senior guard and team captain Jaycie Burger said that despite the cascade of set­backs this year, the team has managed to maintain a good attitude. 

“Of course we are all frus­trated with the can­cel­lation, as we are ready to play. But it’s a crazy year, and we’re thankful to have games on the schedule,” Burger said. “We just have to roll with the punches and make sure we are ready when we have the oppor­tunity to play.” 

Head coach Charlie Averkamp said the team was obvi­ously dis­ap­pointed with the news of the can­cel­la­tions. 

“They’re smart kids, though, and they have per­spective,” Averkamp said. “I told them, ‘I would be upset if I were you.’ I said, ‘Go be mad and angry until the end of the warm-up, and once the warm-up ends, we are focused on what we can do and what we can do to get better.’”

Averkamp even added that their frus­tration can be valuable energy for improving and strength­ening the team. 

“If you’re a com­petitor, you’re going to be annoyed and frus­trated,” Averkamp said. “It is a good thing. If they weren’t upset, then I’d be a lot more worried.” 

As of right now, the game against Trevecca has yet to be rescheduled, but the game against Ken­tucky Wes­leyan will be at home on Dec. 31 at 12p.m.

Averkamp said that Dec. 31 post­ponement means the Chargers will have to be extra focused during their Christmas break training. They nor­mally get only about 10 days off from practice during the break. This year, they will return a few days early, but Averkamp said that each player will have to practice on her own while at home.  

“Knowing our group, they will put in the work and be ready to go,” Averkamp said.

According to Averkamp, the team would already have played seven or eight games by this point in a normal season. Nor­mally, games would have begun the first weekend in November. 

Averkamp said this playing time is important because actually putting practice to the test allows players to check up on how they are really doing. It also pro­vides oppor­tu­nities to watch tape of past games and work out the strengths and weak­nesses of each player’s indi­vidual per­for­mance. 

“Espe­cially this year it’s tough for them because we have new coaches and a new system,” Averkamp said. “They have not gotten to see if this is even going to work.” 

Despite the recurrent dis­ap­pointment of can­celed and post­poned games, Averkamp said the women’s team is for­tunate in that 12 out of 14 members have already tested pos­itive for COVID. According to NCAA rules, pos­itive test results exempt players from mandatory testing for 90 days. That means, there is no chance for a pos­itive test result upending chances to play in any given game. 

Junior guard Lauren Daf­fenberg said the team still holds out hope for a suc­cessful season. 

“I think we are just really excited. There is a lot of enthu­siasm, espe­cially when we have usually played a lot of games by now, “ Daf­fenberg said. “There is a lot of eagerness just to get out on the court however we can.”