It was an impressive first season of varsity competition for the Indian River High School boys’ volleyball team in 2018, as the Indians went 7-2 during the regular season, en route to a third-place finish at the Coaches State Tournament.
That success has more than put the Indians on the map, and collectively the team is expecting even bigger things for their 2019 campaign. Head coach Jim Barnes and assistant Jay Clark both return for their second seasons with the program, and are bursting with the prospects of what this season could be for the Indians.
“We are One Team with One Dream,” Barnes said of his season outlook. “To win the boys’ volleyball state championship, and be the best high school boys’ volleyball team in the state of Delaware for the 2019 season.”
Key returning members for IR are seniors Michael Barnes, Mitch McGee and Porter Palmer, juniors Alex Canseco and Mason Singer, and sophomore Ian Shaubach. Michael Barnes was last year’s Delaware State Rookie of the Year. Senior Kevin Ho and junior Luke Sopko will provide upperclass depth for the roster.
Coach Barnes said he is excited for a pair of newcomers to the team this year — junior Ben Smith and freshman Carson Barnes. Yes, the elder Barnes will be coaching both his sons this year. Also new to the program this year are junior Cole Dubois and freshmen Finn Bellistri, Matt Engle and John Atkins.
IR will open the season on the road against a school that they suffered one of their two regular-season losses to last year — Conrad School. The match will be played at a neutral site, however, as the two programs will battle it out at Delmarva Christian School on Monday, April 1.
The Indians only have three home matches this year. They are all right smack in the middle of the schedule, and they are back-to-back-to-back. On Monday, April 9, IR will host Salesianum beginning at 5:15 p.m. That match will follow Sallies playing Delmarva Christian at 4 p.m. The day of action will feature the top three teams in the state from last year.
“This could be a preview of the state final,” Barnes said. “This will be a good chance for people downstate to see the top high school boys’ volleyball teams play each other. Please come out and support your Indians.”
The state championships will be held upstate again this year, on Wednesday, May 22.
By Jason Feather