IR volleyball slips against Panthers in first home game

The Lady Indians’ volleyball team dropped their its first home game of the 2008 season on Tuesday, Sept. 24, as the Panthers of Polytech worked the ball across the net. Following the five consecutive road games that opened the schedule and netted Indian River a 2-4 record, Indians head coach Jess Dodd was hoping for a sense of comfort from the girls as they took to their home court.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: Brittany Baker passes a ball in Tuesday night’s game against Polytech, while teammate Katie Farber looks on.Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor
Brittany Baker passes a ball in Tuesday night’s game against Polytech, while teammate Katie Farber looks on.

“There shouldn’t be any pressure,” said Dodd. “They should feel relaxed. Typically, when they’re at home, they should have the advantage.”

With a shaky start to Tuesday’s match, the Indians fell early in the first two games, scoring 16 in the first and 18 in the second. The young IR team began to put together impressive rallies, fueled primarily by powerful serves courtesy of Katie Farber. Their play improved in the third, sparring with the Polytech team and trading points, before the Panthers were able to pull off a 25-21 fishing blow.

Coming into the game, Dodd was optimistic.

“Polytech beat the same two teams as us,” he said. “They just made the fewest errors.”

On the road, the Indians had been alternating wins and losses, but they failed to complete the pattern on Tuesday. The Polytech game wrapped up four straight 3-0 matches, only one of which was in IR’s favor.

Fortunately for Dodd and the girls, the Lady Indians will only face three away games of their 10 remaining games this season.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s long hours and lots of meals on the road.”

Indian River hosted Cape Henlopen on Thursday, Sept. 25, (after Coastal Point press deadline), hoping to inch their way back to a positive record. This Saturday, the Lady Indians will once again have their chance to better their score as six teams square off in the annual Indian River Classic. The morning and afternoon tournament will be held this Saturday, Sept. 27, starting at 8 a.m., and will see the likes of Dover, Cape Henlopen, William Penn, Sussex Central and Smyrna.

The traditional competition will allow Dodd to see where his girls match up against rivals as they approach the halfway point on the season.

“There’s always a lot of talent, and you never know what to expect,” he said. “We’re just going to come out playing every point.”

Following the Polytech match, Dodd noted that his priorities with the team were just to get back to the essentials of the game.

“All we need to do is keep working on the basics,” he said. Service points are among his aims, as the Panthers captured the winning points of the first two games off faulty serves by Indian River.

“We’re going to try to get our serves in,” he said, “and work on serve receives. When you have the serve, those are supposed to be easy points to win. It’s good to have a strong, tough serve, but it’s risky without one.”

The Lady Indians have their work cut out for them next week, with back-to-back-to-back matches, as they travel to Sussex Central on Tuesday, Sept. 30, host Saint Elizabeth High on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., and then host Red Lion Christian Academy on Thursday at 6 p.m.