IR volleyball continues shaky season

As the high-school volleyball season closes in on the final four match-ups, the Lady Indians are doing what they can to regain their footing and finish strong. In their past four matches, Indian River has failed to capture a single game, slipping to Symrna last Tuesday, 3-0.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: Alex Legunes makes a pass during IR's game on Tuesday against Smyrna. The Indians were unable to fend off the Eagles, falling in three games.Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor
Alex Legunes makes a pass during IR's game on Tuesday against Smyrna. The Indians were unable to fend off the Eagles, falling in three games.

The Lady Indians had been able to fend off the Smyrna Eagles two weeks back, in the Indian River Classic tournament, but powerful hitting and precise placement got the better of them early this week. Smyrna was out to an early lead, winning 25-16 in the first game. The Eagles went on an unanswered 15-point streak in the second game, allowing IR only 5 points all game. The Lady Indians retaliated with a commanding performance early in the third, but it was too late, and the Eagles finished the evening with a 14-25 show.

Smyrna head coach Jim Powell said he was pleased with his team’s impressive dominance, especially after a weak debut in the tournament only a few weeks back.

“This was our first year involved [in the Indian River Classic],” he said. “It was very well run, but we didn’t do as well as we’d have liked to. We wanted a better showing, but couldn’t get our footing after first game.”

His team suffered consecutive losses to Sussex Central, William Penn and Indian River in the tournament.

“I stressed consistency in serving to the girls, and they did much better tonight than in tournament,” he said. “We put away more hits than we could earlier. We were giving them more chances when we faced them back then.”

Powell also noted that he had a couple players who could not make the tournament.

“It was good to have them back here tonight,” he said.

Although the loss was disappointing for Indian River captain Katie Farber, she wasn’t discouraged.

“Tonight, we didn’t play that bad,” she said following Tuesday’s loss. “We need to communicate more, and passing is a big key. You really need to have a good pass in order to set up the hit.”

Farber said she knew that achieving a win over Smyrna in the tournament wasn’t going to promise them a season victory when the two squared off again.

“We beat them earlier,” she acknowledged, “but a tournament is a different environment. We have to make sure we don’t get overconfident. We know that will get you nowhere.”

The intensity that the Lady Indians brought in the third game is something Farber said she and the other girls need to work on.

“That’s usually the time we start to realize the pressure that we are under, but we need that kind of play from the start,” she said.

Recently, practices have been focused around passing, though Farber observed that defense is going to have to get some more attention, too.

“Our hitting has gotten pretty good,” she said. “We need to receive shots and need to be able to get the pass, set and hit. You really need the first one in order to have the other ones working.”

Indian River faced Sussex Central on Thursday, Oct. 9, (after Coastal Point press deadline), a team they succumbed to, 3-0, only three days after the tournament. They are hoping that they can turn things around, though, bringing the game to their home court.

“With these two teams,” said Farber, “everybody knows everybody. Our team knows what we have to do. We just need to work on it.”

Next week, the Lady Indians will travel to Delmar on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and on Thursday host Lake Forest – a team they managed to beat in five games earlier this season. They will follow that up with their final regular-season game, at Polytech on Tuesday, Oct. 21.