Central Maine Community College’s Bradie Reynolds (12), a Mt. Blue graduate, dribbles the ball upfield against Vermont Tech. Submitted photo

Abby Ferland had already lost one season. She didn’t think she’d be in danger of losing another.

But as the summer went on — and the coronavirus pandemic continued to run through the country without an end in sight — she had a growing suspicion she was going to go through the ordeal again.

“I was more hopeful once I saw that high schools were allowing sports to start practicing again and leagues were able to play,” said Ferland, a catcher on the Central Maine Community College softball team. “But as I saw that different schools were canceling their seasons or already switching to online schooling, I kind of expected it to happen again.”

Central Maine Community College’s Jade Sturtevant (16), an Oak Hill graduate, fights for the ball. Submitted photo

The move became official when CMCC announced Thursday that it was postponing the fall seasons until after January 2021. The decision was made as part of the school’s plan to limit the amount of students who will be on campus during the fall.

Men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and volleyball are sports held only in the fall. Baseball and softball have a split schedule, with games in the fall and then more games and playoffs in the spring.

“I do understand why they would try to be more cautious, but it does kind of let the team down,” said Ferland, a Monmouth native who batted .333 in eight games last year for the Mustangs. “I was looking forward to this season and getting back with the girls and back in the classroom, but I completely understand the school’s decision on doing this.”

“It was really disappointing to hear, because we didn’t really know what was going to happen concerning everything, and it was up in the air for a while,” said Jade Sturtevant, an Oak Hill graduate and second-year defender on the women’s soccer team. “When we first got sent home, no one really thought it was going to last as long as it (has).”

It’s a second straight season of frustration and disappointment after the pandemic wiped out the spring across the country, but the players said the emotions are different. Losing the spring came as a shock. With the fall, however, there was time to brace for the call.

Central Maine Community College’s Jade Sturtevant (16), an Oak Hill graduate, chases down the ball against Vermont Tech. Submitted photo

“In the spring, I was almost more upset because it was new to me to have a season canceled,” Ferland said. “This fall, I almost expected something to happen, whether it was us having to play with new guidelines and rules, or the season having to be postponed until the spring.”

During the summer, athletes fluctuated between optimism and pessimism, based on how the country seemed to be combating the virus.

“It definitely went in waves. When we first got out of college early, it was kind of exciting that you were out a little bit early and you knew you’d still have the season,” said Bradie Reynolds, a second-year midfielder on the women’s soccer team out of Mt. Blue. “And then, kind of the middle of the summer, it was like, ‘Well, maybe we won’t have the season.’ And then coronavirus statistics went up and … then they went back down, so it’s definitely like the entire summer, everyone was back and forth.”

While winter sports will see their seasons start later than expected, the fall sports will see the greatest upheaval as their seasons are moved into another part of the calendar year. For some, the soccer teams in particular, the decision disrupts what were high hopes for the fall. Both the men’s and women’s teams reached the Yankee Small College Conference final last season, and with most of the roster back and a bright group of new players coming in, the women’s team was expecting to take a step forward.

“A lot of us went to CM mainly to play soccer,” Reynolds said. “Our team was actually getting pretty good. For it to kind of fall apart on the one year we thought we had it all is a pretty big letdown.”

The bright side is that the season was moved, rather than canceled as it was in the spring. Nearly all of the women’s soccer team will be back at the start of 2021 — Reynolds, for instance, was planning on graduating in the winter but will hold off to play the final season — and so there’s still a chance to cash in on that potential.

“We still want it. … We have a lot of skill coming fresh to the team,” said Sturtevant, who was selected team MVP last season and was named a USCAA All-American. “I’m just happy that it didn’t get completely canceled. It gives me something to look forward to.”

Plans for 2021 are still uncertain — a constant during this pandemic — but the players are staying positive.

“(The virus) could still be going on during that time,” Sturtevant said. “I’m trying to be optimistic, and think that it’s all going to work out.”

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