Hurricane Florence forces UNCA to reschedule athletic events

Martin Phillips
Sports Staff Writer
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Hurricane Florence may not have hit Buncombe County as hard as the coast of North Carolina, but the threat was enough to reschedule many of UNC Asheville’s athletic events.
The team was disappointed not to play,” said Frederico Santos, coach of the women’s volleyball team.
Women’s volleyball was forced to reschedule their game against Charleston Southern University to a later date.
The severity of Hurricane Florence caused flooding throughout North Carolina, and meteorologists predicted as much as 10 inches of rain to hit Asheville.
“I think in these situations we all know that protecting life and being prepared for changes is very important,” Santos said.
Volleyball was not the only sport that rescheduled. Men’s soccer was moved from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18. Men’s tennis could not compete in the University of South Carolina Upstate fall tournament. Women’s golf was originally going to play in the Pirate Intercollegiate but are now playing at the MSU Greenbrier Invitational in Kentucky.
“Our tournament at ECU was canceled,” said Ericka Schneider, coach of the women’s golf team. “We were able to get into another event right away to take place of the canceled one.”
Despite the news of Hurricane Florence’s path toward Asheville, Santos didn’t change his practice schedule.
“The team prepared as if we were going to play,” Santos said. “They worked hard all week until we received news of cancelation.”
Men’s soccer coach Mathes Mennell commended his team on how they adapted to the conditions.
“I thought our players did an excellent job of being flexible and understanding that this was out of control,” Mennell said.
Santos recognized that in both sports and life conflicts can and will happen.
“In life, as in sports, changes can happen quickly so we must be flexible and calm to analyze the situation and then take action.” Santos said.
Athletes get used to a certain rhythm when it comes to preparing for a game according to Mennell, but the Bulldogs handled the transition with grace.
“Athletes are creatures of habit, but I thought our guys did a great job of realizing this was an extreme situation and adjusting,” Mennell said.
Men’s soccer being pushed from Sunday to Tuesday gave them more time to prepare for the game, but Mennell knows that more preparation time can be dangerous.
“They were probably a little bit more prepared. The danger in that is when you set your schedule you try to maximize rest because there are so many games in a college soccer season,” Mennell said. “I think they did a pretty good job.”
Some teams, like the women’s golf team, were ready to go out and play.
“It didn’t really affect their readiness to play,” Schneider said. “They are fairly used to playing in inclement weather due to it being an outdoor sport.”
Hurricane Florence has continued to have an impact on North Carolina. According to WFMY News, Hurricane Florence caused 27 deaths in North Carolina and put approximately 7,800 citizens in emergency shelters.
“We have some guys that have family out on the coast, so that weighed on them a little bit,” Mennell said. “Their families were safe and they were able to ride out the storm.”
By the time the hurricane reached Asheville it had been downgraded to a tropical storm.
“Thankfully we did not get much bad weather here in Asheville,” Mennell said.
Mennell thinks the rescheduling was done well.
“I thought the rescheduling was pretty seamless, and that’s always a good thing,” Mennell said.