The COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of a lot of people. You can include Weatherford College volleyball player Isabela Moore among them.
In fact, were it not for the pandemic she might not have made her way to the Coyotes. After all, she had a great college career started at North Central Texas College.
In her first and only season at NCTC, Moore was named the Region V Offensive Player of the Year. In the 2020 season, Moore, an outside hitter, finished in the top 10 of several statistical categories in Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference play: points (second with 154), points per set (second with 4.8), kills (third with 133), kills per set (second with 4.16), total attacks (fourth with 383) and others.
But despite all the success, being comfortable in your surroundings is critical, and when COVID hit, she said she simply wasn't.
"COVID was a hard time with online classes, masks and being away from family for the first time," the Boswell High graduate said. "Having sickness around made the season hard with people being in and out of games and created an environment I didn't want to continue being in."
But she did want to continue playing when the time was right. And when that time arrived, she reconnected with an old friend, her longtime club coach, Kailee May, who was now the head coach for Weatherford College's inaugural program.
"I came here because Coach Kailee told me she was the head coach. Having played for her in club I was already on board," Moore said.
Moore has made an immediate impact in the Coyotes' first season, helping them to a 14-5 overall record and a 6-0 conference mark. Of course, with her experience, it was only natural to make the sophomore standout a team captain.
"Being a captain, I feel that leading the team is essential to starting a great season and making a long-lasting impression on this program. I love the idea that I'm a part of this first-ever team here at Weatherford. I'd say that's another big reason I chose to be here, to make history," Moore said.
May said Moore has brought an impressive amount of maturity and leadership to the team.
"I think her year off from playing gave her some perspective on how much the game means to her. She knows her time on the court is limited and has not taken a single contact for granted," May said. "Especially because we have a team of 16 freshmen, Isabela has really taken ownership of making sure the team is focused and working hard.
"The team genuinely looks to her for guidance on and off the court. Isabela has life experience that most of our team hasn't had yet, so her maturity and experiences bring a unique level of leadership that our freshmen are definitely benefiting from in many ways."
In retrospect, Moore said taking a year off was a good thing.
"Taking a year off was needed for my body and coming back from being away felt as natural as it always has," she said. "My play is starting strong, and I'm ready to make my impression here, but that would be no help without my amazing teammates."
And, with only one season to play at WC, she's not wanting to wait for the program to win. So far, she's not having to wait.
"So far it's been a solid season. Our preseason was fairly competitive, playing ranked teams and us being a first-year sport," she said. "We play hard and have an insane amount of talent on this team. I think if we continue to play how we have, but learn new things along in conference play, we have a great chance of winning."
Moore said she hasn't yet decided where she will attend college or play after this school year, but she is excited to see what the future holds now that she's back on the court. And while she hasn't picked a major, she's leaning toward coaching for a career.
"My main interest is being a coach so I can continue to pass down knowledge of the sport," she said.
But for now, she has this season as her main focus.
"I'm excited to see how this season goes and I wouldn't want to start something so special with any other group of people," she said. "This program really is the best and we have a family, created within a sport."