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SVC athletics continue on during COVID-19 pandemic

By Luke Mich

Despite the coronavirus pandemic still plaguing our country and state today, Saint Vincent sports are nevertheless practicing and training this fall. In the past couple of weeks, both men’s and women’s soccer, tennis and track teams, as well as the football team and women’s volleyball team, have resumed practices at the various football fields, turf field and gymnasium.

Carl Dei Cas, head men’s and women’s soccer coach, stressed the consistency of his teams’ schedules.

“We are [still] practicing,” he said, as the news broke that the PAC had cancelled all fall sports competition. Even with this news, and the fact that these sports won’t resume competition until spring, the teams still continue to practice, with coaches present at these practices, Dei Cas noted.

The Presidents’ Athletic Conference announced August 27 that all fall sports competitions will be cancelled, and that any future competition can be played no earlier than January 1. (Source:

“We [practice] three times a week, [and] and we are still in Phase II [of] practices,” Dei Cas mentioned, referring to the NCAA Return to Play procedure. In Phase I, athletes were asked to self-quarantine for the two weeks prior to returning to campus, and athletes arrived a day earlier on campus than the rest of their class to stagger arrival of students on campus. With Phase II, teams are broken up into groups of 10 when practicing, and team meetings are recommended to be held virtually. Temperature screenings are required before each practice.

Joshua Canty, sophomore history major, detailed what practices have been like for soccer.

“We have morning workouts right now. Coach Bell and the athletic trainers run our workouts along with Coach Carl [Dei Cas]. We [will] start actual practices with a ball soon [and that] will be run by Coach Carl,” Canty, a defender and midfielder, said.

Like both soccer teams, most training sessions for the other teams occur outside to allow for more room for social distancing, as well as making it easier to breathe when exercising.

“Workouts are the same [as in past years] except we have to wear masks,” Canty added.

UPMC field, where most training sessions are currently being held. (Source:

As for what’s next, Phase III has yet to come into effect as of Sept. 2, though that may come soon. Cases have not risen in the area, and the two students at SVC that were diagnosed with coronavirus have recovered. For how the soccer teams will keep fall practice fun and engaging, Canty suggested there will be some competition within.

“We will [be] having pickup games here and there,” he said.

Coach Dei Cas kept it blunt on what to expect for the rest of the fall:

“Just practice [and] prepare for the spring season.”

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