STARKVILLE, Miss (WTVA) - The coronavirus has changed the look, but not the feel of volleyball in Starkville.
The Mississippi State University volleyball team hosted its season opener against Arkansas on Saturday.
As fans entered Newell-Grissom Arena, 'Mask Required' signs hung throughout the complex and sanitizer was available at every entrance.
Seats were sectioned off in the bleachers allowing a maximum of four people seated together in one location.
Even with the spacing, volleyball dad James Robinson said the atmosphere was untouchable.
“Even though we were spaced out, it looked as if we had a lot of people in the gym," said Robinson. "The gym was on fire. It was packed. We were making noise. I was excited. I’m ready for tomorrow.”
It was not just the fans who saw adjustments to their routine.
Players and coaches were required to wear masks while on the sidelines.
Teams also stayed on one side of the court for the entirety of the game.
However, the biggest difference is how the schedule is laid out. Less than half of the games will be played this volleyball season.
Robinson said this shortened schedule will be a difficult change for the players.
“It’s a little hard having a smaller schedule. Playing back-to-back for the girls is going to be kind of rough," said the father. "We’re still excited though to get to be here and at least the SEC is playing.”
Even with all the major changes, Robinson said the pandemic cannot change the grit of a Bulldog.
“Couldn’t feel a difference. The girls brought the energy. Fans bringing the energy. We were packing the Griss out,” said Robinson.
These changes will continue for the remainder of the season.