Perhaps the feelings of fall varsity athletes can be summed up by the words on a whiteboard in Alumni Gym, where new head coach Emily Hayes leads the Bates volleyball program.

Under the header “Practice 1” on Wednesday, it read, “Thankful.”

“You will hear the same thing from everyone,” said field hockey forward Emily Gianunzio ’22 of Darien, Conn. “This is amazing. To be together on the field has been great.”

The Bates fall sports teams haven’t played an actual intercollegiate game since 2019. Last year, they practiced, but with masks.

Video by Aaron Morse

The first practices of the year were Wednesday. First up was men’s soccer, which took to the Garcelon Field turf at 7 a.m., the first time without masks in two years.

Head coach Tyler Sheikh was ready to put his team to the test, with a challenging conditioning session to start the morning off right.

“It’s time to kick their butts a little bit,” said Sheikh.

Bates men’s soccer was the first of four practices for fall sports on Wednesday, as the Bobcats get ready for what promises to be a fun 2021 campaign.

We were on-hand to capture all the excitement of men’s soccer, field hockey, women’s soccer, and volleyball’s return to action.

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