Just think — only two years ago, the Indian River High School boys’ volleyball team had just been created. There’s really no need to hit the fast-forward button, because during those two years, the Indians have created a program that has put the state on notice.
Their heart, passion, fire and determination came together quickly, and created a perfect storm of success that led to the Indians claiming the 2019 state championship with a 3-0 win over Salesianum on Wednesday, May 22, at John Dickson High School in Wilmington.
After a third-place finish in 2018, the Indians knew exactly what they wanted for this year, and knew exactly what it was going to take to get there.
Following their rally cry of “One Team, One Dream” all season, the Indians’ state title validated the faith that the IRSD School Board and IRHS Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann had when they approved the team two years ago.
“We’re fortunate to play. I mean, two years ago, we didn’t have a team,” recalled coach Jim Barnes. “I had kids begging to play, and we weren’t sure. Thank God the school board approved us. Thank God we had an athletic director that supported us this year.
“We have wonderful fans that are passionate. Thank God for the victory. We had to play to do what we needed to do, but we had the talent and the players to do it. They came through, and now we’re champions. They can’t take that away from us now.”
The Indians went 9-3 last year in their inaugural season and could have easily rested on the laurels of their quick success.
But not Barnes, and certainly not his “Super 6” of Michael Barnes, Mitch McGee, Porter Palmer, Alex Canseco, Mason Singer and Carson Barnes.
They wanted more. They wanted the big prize. And they got it.
“Sallies is a good team, but I said this when people would ask me at the beginning of the year about the team, I said, ‘We’re legit.’ We have the legit pieces in place,” deadpanned Coach Barnes. “We worked hard together as a team. I’m just so happy for the kids, I’m so happy for the school, I’m happy for myself — because we wanted it so bad, and it was a mission of ours to get it. It doesn’t come around too often to have a team like we did with a small school.”
Over the course of the season, IR went 12-0 in their matches. They won 36 sets while surrendering just two sets — one to Sallies (April 9) and one to Wilmington Charter (April 12) — en route to record perfection. They would accept nothing less than a championship, and certainly played as if every match — and more specifically, every set — was the difference between success and failure.
They destined for greatness. They were one team solely focused on one dream.
It’s nice when hard work pays off to allow a dream to become a reality.
Your 2019 Delaware boys’ volleyball state champs: Hurricane IR will be forever remembered as “the Perfect Storm.”
By Jason Feather