By Alex Agudelo

Five Towns College has been selected to host the 2021 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships and Women’s Volleyball Championship. Five Towns College Athletic Director Matt Guercio said he’s “very excited about hosting the HVIAC tournament. We hosted it in 2020, so we are very excited to have it come back. We haven’t hosted the Women’s Volleyball championship yet, so that would be the first time we are doing that this November.”

The Women’s Volleyball Championship did not take place in 2020, as the HVIAC and its members voted not to hold conference competition due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns of spreading of the virus.

Emily Angelastro in the WFTU Radio Station

The cancelation of sports in the 2020-2021 season affected the players on a personal level. Volleyball player and Mass Comm student Emily Angelastro said, “I was really upset because I was seeing a bunch of other schools still being able to go through their seasons. They were going to wear masks and stuff, especially for playing volleyball, which is not much of a contact sport as other sports are. As we got closer and to the date, it kind of seemed like it wasn’t really going to happen, so I kind of tried to prepare myself, but it really was a disappointing time.”

Now, nearly 16 months later, as COVID-19 cases have come down and there are vaccines against the virus, collegiate sports seek to return to some normalcy. The FTC Athletic Department’s announcement earlier this month that they will be hosting the HVIAC championships in the fall was met with excitement from players.

Angelastro said, “I think it’s actually such an exciting thing that we are hosting the tournament because not only will it get more support from our fans, but I also think that it’s going to get more exposure for the Five Towns Athletic Program. Especially if we win, there’s a lot of good things that are going to come out of it.”

Regarding evaluating and adapting to COVID concerns, Guercio said “You have to adjust. We find ways to be creative to get through tough situations. In the past, we may have taken things for granted. Now that we’ve been through the pandemic, and we are still in the middle of it, you take things that you experienced, learned, and apply them to try to make sure you do better going forward.”

Emily Angelastro playing volleyball

Angelastro added, “I’m really excited to compete again. It’s been over a year since I played competitively, so I can’t wait to get back on the court and play with my teammates. And I think it will be different in light of COVID. I am not sure that we will have to wear masks on the court. I don’t think that will be that much of a problem, even though it can be annoying. Even if people have to wear masks and kind of distance each other, I hope that people can still attend and still go all out in supporting the team.”

On the prospects of competing and possibly winning a championship at home, Angelastro said, “I think that us hosting it will definitely be part of a fire under our behinds for us to get there and be part of the championship.”