CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois volleyball team officially started its return to campus on Monday. The Illini players will undergo COVID-19 testing and an initial quarantine, just like the football and men’s basketball team did, before they’re able to start voluntary workouts. Memorial Stadium has been the first stop for student-athletes when they come back to Champaign after being sent home in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now fourth-year head coach Chris Tamas told WCIA 3 recently that on-court workouts are more valuable in a sport like volleyball, but he understands that’s not going to happen overnight.
“Passing against a wall is great, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get touches, but it doesn’t replicate playing 6-on-6 volleyball at the speed they need to see the ball at,” Tamas said during a FaceTime interview. “The more time that they have that they’re able to play in those types of situations, that’s what we’re hoping for. But we know we have to take their safety into consideration, and making sure that we’re not rushing, and we’re doing this right. I’m very appreciative of the DIA that they’re taking their time to make sure everyone’s coming back in a safe manner.”
Illinois is coming off a third-straight NCAA appearance under Tamas, who led the Illini to a 16-14 record last fall. The team will have to replace five players this season, including All-American outside hitter Jacqueline Quade.