The stint of a four-game winning streak didn’t last long, as Indian River’s volleyball team dropped two more games this past week to level their record out to 4-4. Reliable performance is difficult to come by, though, when halfway into the season the team still doesn’t have an established starting lineup.
The Indians fought tough match-ups against Cape Henlopen last Thursday and Sussex Central on Tuesday, both without the aid of senior starter Hayley Brennan. A loss to each team served as a harrowing reminder that unity is a necessity. Junior Amber Nash, head coach Jess Dodd noted, has also been released from the team. Both absences follow the dismissal of would-be starter junior Sarah Tyre. “It’s frustrating,” Dodd said. He mentioned that Brennan’s return to the team is unknown at this point, but refused further comment.
Indian River started out strong Tuesday night with a win in the first game over Central’s Lady Knights, 25-20. Central answered back, though, pulling wins in the three subsequent games to seal the 3-1 victory. Shot placement and capitalization on long volleys seemed to give the Knights their fighting chance.
For the Indians, Katie Farber contributed steady service runs while Nyssa Altman, Brittany Baker and Kami Britingham helped to hold down the net play, but to no avail.
“It’s all about momentum,” said Dodd. “We had short bursts, but couldn’t hold on to it long enough. The girls need to keep their confidence up and stay aggressive. They’ve got to keep the pressure on every team we play without giving a free ball each time.”
Indian River was able to keep each game in the balance, with a final margin never over six points, though finishing seemed to be the determining factor.
“Whether running out of gas, or realizing the game’s that close, or worried about making that mistake, they have to overcome these things,” said Dodd.
Central head coach Mike Adams, though pleased with win, insisted that his team needs to perform better in the future.
“I think we came out flat,” he said. “I don’t think at any point in time we ever had consistent play, and that’s what I talked to them about after the game. That’s what’s going to separate the great teams from the good teams. Your great teams are going to play well all the time.”
Both Central and Indian River achieved victories over rivals Polytech, Delmar and Lake Forest, and suffered a loss against Cape Henlopen.
“I’ve been to the state championships,” said Adams, who has coached in Delaware for four years, “and those girls are very consistent. It makes them better. We have a lot of the same skills as them.”
“We played good enough to win [against Indian River], but if we keep playing like that, we aren’t going to win some of the matches that we need to,” Adams said. “We’ve got some girls who can hit, but you really have to mix it up out there.”
Indian River will face Sussex Central again on Thursday, Oct, 11, this time with Central hosting. The Indians were set to face Red Lion Christian Academy on Thursday, Oct. 4, after Coastal Point press time, and will take on Smyrna, away, on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
“Tomorrow’s another day,” said Dodd, "and everybody’s working hard."