IR volleyball still hoping for playoffs after fourth straight win

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Junior Mckenzie Johnson sets up a shot for sophomore Julia Jordan during the Indians’ 3-0 win at Sussex Academy on Thursday, Oct. 20.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Junior Mckenzie Johnson sets up a shot for sophomore Julia Jordan during the Indians’ 3-0 win at Sussex Academy on Thursday, Oct. 20.It’s been one of their goals all season: Finish with the first winning record for Indian River High School volleyball since 2011.

Second-year head coach Jim Barnes and his squad accomplished that goal last week, racking up wins over Sussex Academy, Seaford and Woodbridge to improve to 8-6 on the season and to guarantee a winning record, with one game against Sussex Tech, on Thursday, Oct. 27, still left to go.

“That was one of our main goals this season, was to have a winning record, which is a good feeling going into Thursday,” said Barnes early this week. “We’re working on establishing a winning tradition. We’re moving forward, we’re moving in the right direction, but I’m still not satisfied with where we are. We’re good; we could be better.”

After sweeping the Seahawks in sets of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-12 on Thursday, Oct. 20, and Seaford in sets of 25-4, 25-11 and 25-13 on Monday, Oct. 24, the Indians got their fourth straight win when they took down Woodbridge 3-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Despite their recent dominance, however, they started off slow in that game, taking the first two sets by scores of 25-14 and 25-12.

“We definitely played down,” said junior Julia Bomhardt of the team’s performance in the first two sets against the Blue Raiders. “Coach wasn’t really happy with how we were playing. He wanted us to prove to him that we could play how he knew we can play.”

“I was disappointed with how we played in the first two sets. I didn’t think the offense was there,” Barnes explained. “We just weren’t getting the sets and the hits.”

The third set was a different story, however, with the Indians jumping out to a 7-0 lead, going on to lead 15-1 before capping the eventual 25-5 win.

“We played like we know we can in the third set, instead of at their level,” said senior Sami Mumford of the turnaround.

Mumford tallied four kills and two aces in the matchup, with Bomhardt and junior Carly Collins each leading the team with five aces, and junior Mckenzie Johnson again leading the team with double-digit assists, finishing with 16 against Woodbridge.

Freshman Siera Johnson finished with four kills and two aces, with freshman Jessica Amezcua racking up nine aces and a dig, junior Sarandon Slobodnick seeing action with a kill, and senior Shelby Cannatelli back in action from a foot injury, with two kills in the third set.

While the team already reached one of their main goals with the win, a win against Sussex Tech (8-5) on Thursday, Oct. 27, (after Coastal Point press time) would keep their playoff chances in play; and a bid to the tournament would be their first in more than 10 years.

“We feel good. We feel really confident,” said Bomhardt headed into that matchup. “We’re gonna go out there for our seniors hard and give it all that we’ve got. I’m excited.”

“We can’t go in expecting anything handed to us,” added Mumford. “We have to earn every point. I think it’ll be a good game.”

That game is set to begin at 5 p.m. at Indian River High School.