LAGRANGE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The Nazareth Academy gym is full of girls bumping, setting and spiking.
Volleyball is back. The start of fall sports for high schools in Illinois means lots of activity. And for the first time in a couple years, they have no restrictions due to COVID-19.
"They get a chance to see this is what high school sports looks like at the start of the year and get them excited about school which starts in a couple weeks," said Nazareth Athletic Director Mike Manno.
And for the Nazareth girls' volleyball team, it means defending the 3A state championship they won last year. Only this year, they don't have to wear masks.
"It's harder to breathe, more energy exerted, harder to talk to your team wearing masks, so I'm glad my senior season gets to be a little more normal," said Nazareth senior Kitty Sandt.
The Lyons Township football team is also practicing for the first time starting Monday. A year after making the playoffs for the first time in several years, they have high expectations for this season and are happy COVID-19 restrictions seem to be in the rear view window at this point.
Their athletic director said that's true for most every sport.
"In my profession it's obviously a big deal but it's important for our kids. For their social-emotional learning, their well-being physically, getting out and doing things," said Lyons Township Athletic Director John Grundke.
These athletes have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. From tryouts Monday, they have their first tournament in a little more than two weeks.