Volleyball’s Summer Practices Look Different Ahead of New Spring Season

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PEORIA, Ill (WMBD/WYZZ) — Volleyball players at Eureka High School aren’t practicing in their own gym.

They have to go down the street to Eureka Middle School. And players are wearing masks during practice.

They know it’s different but they say it’s all worth it now that they know they’ll have a season to look forward to this year. Even if they have to wait until the spring to play it.

“There’s some places where they can’t do this at all,” said junior Delaney Philips. “We’re able to still get together, we wear our masks. It’s a good thing to get used to in case we still have to wear them in the season or for other sports. We’re glad to be here with each other.”

The Illinois High School Association rolled out its plan for a return to sports this school year. Volleyball, football and boys soccer are being moved from the fall to the spring to give them a better chance of being played.

They are considered “at risk” sports, according to the new state guidelines released by Governor J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday.

The IHSA condensed all of its sports seasons as part of its Return To Play plan. But players agree, a shortened season in the spring is better than having a fall season canceled.

“As long as I get to go to school and can have a season, granted it’s (part) of a season, not a full season,” said Eureka senior Hannah Hetz. “As long as I get something with my friends, I think I’ll be good.”

Notre Dame is putting a twist on its volleyball practices. The Irish have put a net in the outfield of the school’s varsity baseball field.

The team is working with small groups of players on the outdoor “court” to get ready for the season.

“We decided since you don’t need masks outside to move our practices outside,” said Notre Dame coach Shelby Lauterbach. “We split our teams apart to try and limit exposures and try and reduce the number of girls out here.”

The players seem to like the outfield set-up.

“It’s been great having practice outside and to actually play,” said senior Danielle Shadid. “Just be around everyone without as many restrictions since we are outside. It’s great to actually get volleyball in.”

They’re happy to wait until spring to play. In the meantime, volleyball players are making the best of summer practices.

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