The Lady Indians varsity volleyball team has jumped out to a hot 3-0 record as the fall season begins now in earnest. In their third match of the season, Indian River hosted Delmarva Christian on Sept. 20 and started off slowly. They lost the first game 25-17 but went on to win the next three for the overall win.
Indian River looked out of sync in the first game: there was little communication, players were out of position for passes and they were unable to capitalize on key touches at the net.
“Usually, we don’t start off real well,” said Renee Davidson. “It didn’t help that some of our players were in bad moods.”
Head Coach Jess Dodd guided his players through the first game and after a few heavy sighs; Indian River rallied and seem to have fun doing it.
Sara Powell gave Indian River a 4-0 lead in the second match by mixing up her serving location and keeping Delmarva Christian off-balanced — but they would steady.
Indian River led Delmarva Christian by as much as eight points in the second game and up 17-9; the Royals would take a critical timeout. From there the tides would turn.
Delmarva Christian battled hard and was able to reel off eight points to Indian River’s two — tying the game at 19 apiece. Indian River was charged twice with carries in that span and they seemed to be reverting back to disorganized play.
The final five points weren’t easy to achieve and Delmarva Christian made a strong final push to secure their second straight game. Delmarva Christian tied the score twice (22 and 23 all) before Sara Powell was able to put Indian River over the edge.
Delmarva Christian took the a 23-22 lead on a long return by Powell and Kelly Jurusik was able to even the score on a crucial block at the net but Powell would redeem herself and her team.
Powell eeked over a lazy tip to give Indian River point game and now armed with the serve, she toed the line in anticipation of scoring the winning point but not before the Royals could get one last timeout. Undisturbed and ready, once the timeout had expired, Powell casually bounced the ball before smacking it over the net.
The ball went up in the air, a perfect hit, and it landed deep in an indefensible position for the point and the win, to tie the game at 1-1.
“We started communicating with each other and tried to have fun,” said Davidson. “Some of the girls really stepped up their game.”
The third and decisive match started off in Indian River’s favor. Powell kept Delmarva Christian moving around with her serve and the Lady Indians jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Davidson scored on two spikes, one of which was dug out deep by Nyssa Altman.
“Defensively, we made some great plays,” said Dodd. “We went after the ball.”
For the seventh point, Altman made two critical dig-outs on that volley to earn the point.
Delmarva Christian would pull the score to 8-5 but Indian River would distance themselves from their competition on the serving of Shauna Jacobs.
Her high, far and top-spinning serve scored four of Indian River’s five points in that span, giving them a 13-5 lead. Finally, Delmarva Christian wised up and let the next long serve go and Indian River would relinquish control of the ball.
Delmarva Christian would score but not enough to win the third game. The Royals would score five more points to pull the score to 20-10 but Indian River would flourish behind the serving of Powell and the net prowess of Davidson.
Davidson would score two on spikes and Powell would force a no-return point on her first serve giving Indian River a 22-10 lead.
Indian River now was running on all cylinders. Their movements were flawless and communication was perfect.
“We had good offense tonight and, to a degree, we’ve been struggling,” said Dodd. “We kept the ball in the center and we’re able to run our offense.”
The Lady Indians kept the pressure on in the fourth game and again jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Bump-set-spike was a familiar sight in the last game and Indian River executed it to perfection.
Davidson and Jurusik ravaged Delmarva Christian for six points off of that combination. Power mixed with finesse is a great combination and Indian River made sure to make use of Delmarva’s lack of position.
Powell scored on two consecutive taps but they quickly turned to carries and Delmarva Christian scrapped their way back in the game. Indian River was up 16-3 when two Powell carries gave Delmarva Christian a couple points, but it gave the Royals new life.
Down 19-9, the Royals’ coach encouraged his players to not give up and said that 10-point margin was possible to overcome. Delmarva Christian scored on four unforced errors at the net. Carries, overzealous net play, poor returns and a bad serve left Indian River with an ever-decreasing 22-14 lead.
Only an arm’s length away, Delmarva Christian couldn’t capitalize on their serve and Indian River was only two points away from their third straight win.
Jurusik scored the final two points, the last on a block, giving her team a 25-14 game-winning score. The Lady Indians defeated Delmarva Christian 3-1 and were set to host Caeasar Rodney on Sept. 22.
“We’ve never beat Caesar Rodney,” said Davidson, “but we’re a better team than we were last year so we’ll be ready.”
Dodd acknowledged Caesar Rodney’s skill and noted that his team will have to step their game up in order to compete.
“We’re going to have to put more heat on the ball,” said Dodd. “It’s going to come back a lot harder at the girls against Caesar Rodney.”