IRHS volleyball falters in season opener

The Indian River volleyball team was unable to open up their season on a high note on Tuesday as they fell short, 0-3, against Delmarva Christian Academy. The Lady Indians came out strong, barely slipping in the first game, 22-25 — though things soon seemed to head downhill. Head coach Jess Dodd was forced to make some last-minute changes following the unexpected dismissal of one of his starters.

volleyball 9.14: Freshman Frankie Stevenson bumps the ball in Tuesday’s game against Delmarva Christian Academy.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT
Freshman Frankie Stevenson bumps the ball in Tuesday’s game against Delmarva Christian Academy.

“We played better in our first game,” Dodd said, “but [Delmarva Christian] was error-free. After that first game, that seemed to be all we would do, was make errors. We just didn’t anticipate the way they did.”

Combined kills from Hayley Brennan, Nyssa Altman and Kami Brittingham weren’t enough to bring the Lady Indians a victory, though cooperation and teamwork among the team seems to have already started, despite an untimely alteration to the lineup.

With the loss of junior Sarah Tyre, the Lady Indians presented a starting line debuting freshman Frankie Stevenson, a Kansas native whose family recently moved to the area. Stevenson began playing on club teams in forth grade.

“It’s a lot bigger here,” Stevenson said of volleyball, “and the competition is a lot different, harder.”

Competing not only at the new high school level, but in a state 1,300 miles away from where she grew up, can be quite intimidating, she said.

“The game’s a lot more intense here,” Stevenson added, “and rules are a little different. Everyone plays really well together.” Stevenson swapped playing time with Brittingham, as Dodd began piecing positions back together. Prior to their first match, Brittingham served as the team’s manager.

“We’re starting over with a new player there,” said Dodd, referring to Tyre’s spot left vacant at the net. Indian River turned around quickly to face Caesar Rodney at home on Thursday, after the Coastal Point’s publication deadline. “You’ve got to be ready for anything.”

Following the loss, he instructed the girls on how to handle Thursday’s match-up.

“I briefed over what we do here,” he said. “We only have one day to prepare for Caesar Rodney, and they’re an even stronger team than Delmarva Christian.”

The Lady Indians hoped to walk away Thursday with a win against Caesar Rodney. “We just need to pick our game up in all categories,” Dodd assured. “We need to be error free.” The Indians will face Dover on Tuesday, Sept. 18, for a third consecutive home game before playing at Delmar on Thursday, Sept. 20.