Bump-set-spike was a great combination for the Indian River varsity volleyball team against Lake Forest on Oct. 4 but it was more like game-set-match. The Lady Indians downed the Lady Spartans in three straight games, to even their record at 4-4.
The Lady Indians jumped out to quick leads but would see them dissipate in the first two games. Still, they won the first two games 25-20 and the last 25-12.
Indian River’s head coach, Jess Dodd, explained their team might go further or win more easily if they stopped committing unforced errors.
“I set high expectations,” said Dodd, “and I expect great players — not just good players. We have to stop committing unforced errors — it’s attitude.”
After jumping out to a 22-12 lead in the first game, the Lady Indians let Lake Forest seep back into the game. The Lady Spartans rallied behind the hard-and-heavy serving of Chalea Johnson.
Johnson mixed up her serves nicely to keep Indian River off balance and reeled off seven unanswered points to pull the Lady Spartans within two points of the lead (22-20). Four of Johnson’s serves were returned but out of bounds, while she also recorded three aces. After blasting Indian River with her power, she eased off and dropped one of her aces in short. Dodd explained that the only way to counter Johnson’s power was to adjust.
“She moved the ball around and went hard,” said Dodd. “I had my best passer (Jacobs) there and everybody did their job.”
Finally, Johnson’s serve fell apart and Indian River was a mere two point away from securing the first game. Middle blocker Renee Davidson spiked a Hilary Hawkins assist and Kelly Jurusik aced the Lady Spartans for the final point of the game.
Indian River never really cemented their position in the second game and Lake Forest hung tough despite losing a tough first game. After a brief 2-2 tie, Indian River edged past Lake Forest 14-10 but allowed their opponents to catch them and take the lead at 15-14, advantage Lady Spartans.
The game looked more like ping-pong for the remainder of the game, because one team would take the lead and the other would tie and vice versa.
Indian River would take a 17-16 lead on a poor Lake Forest serve by Missy Evans and Davidson would add two more points on un-returnable balls. With a slight edge, Indian River would let Lake Forest troop back and score on an un-returnable serve and a kill by Johnson.
With the game tied at 19, Indian River would take the reins and corral the second game. The Lady Indians owned the net in the final stages of second game, which yielded them all six of their points. Jurusik, Hawkins and Davidson spiked, blocked and tapped their way for the 25-20 win.
While net play helped Indian River win the second game, Davidson’s serve put Indian River in the driver’s seat for the win in the third game.
Davidson and company reeled off 11 straight points with the ball in her hands and Lake Forest would never recover.
“The problem with my girls is that they go downhill after losing,” said Lake Forest Head Coach Christy Weller. “I wish I could coach them out of it but I can’t.”
“We passed well at times and we played very well at times, but the gaps in between were too big and Indian River took advantage of it and won,” said Weller. “They earned the win tonight.”
The remainder of the game looked like Indian River was shooting fish in a barrel because Lake Forest was never able to muster any type of a counter-attack. They had two serves in that time and couldn’t capitalize once. The Lady Indians battered Lake Forest 25-12 and earned a 3-0 win.
Indian River headed roadside for their next two matches, against Cape Henlopen (Oct. 6) and St. Thomas More (Oct. 11). Both games were set to start at 4 p.m.