Last season was truly special for the Indian River High School girls’ volleyball team, as they ran through the regular season with a 14-1 mark and a Henlopen Conference South Division title.
Two straight setbacks in the postseason brought an end to their season, but it only ignited a fire in a program that has now earned respect up and down the state.
“Last season was a special season,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “This season will be an exciting season. The team will be a good team. The question is how good can the team be?”
Barnes enters his fourth season at the helm of the Indians’ squad with an overall mark of 28-19. The program has gotten markedly better with each season since he took over.
Returning for the Green-and-Gold is “Super Sophomore” Rachel Ehlers as an outside hitter.
Also back are a trio of juniors who will be counted on heavily to provide leadership to a team that has no seniors on its roster. Jessica Amezcua will be back at the libero spot — a player that specializes in defensive skills. Siera Johnson is another outside hitter for the Indians, while Natalie Burnshaw mans up the middle.
Newcomer junior Marianni Chavez will be joining the team as a setter.
“Our goal is to not only be the Southern Division Conference champions this year, but also the overall Henlopen Conference champions,” Barnes added. “We would also like to see how deep we can go in the state tournament. We talk about trying to get into the top five, and then possibly anything can happen — including state champions. Now, that would be fun!”
The Indians will open the season with a home date against Maryland’s Worcester Preparatory School on Friday, Sept. 7, at 4:30 p.m. They will have a five-match home stretch against Cape Henlopen (Sept. 18), Seaford (Sept. 20), Polytech (Sept. 25), Lake Forest (Sept. 27) and Delaware Military Academy (Sept. 29). They also have home dates with Woodbridge (Oct. 18) and Sussex Tech (Oct. 25).
Barnes will be assisted again this year by Jay Clark.
By Jason Feather