The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) has changed course on its previous decision regarding fall sports and reinstated the start of the fall season for the actual fall.
With that decision only taking place in September, it was clear that a “full” season would need to be restructured, and an abbreviated one constructed to allow for the student-athletes to have time to prepare and also play before they head into the winter months.
Fresh off a school record-setting 16-2 season from a year ago, the Indian River High School field hockey team is chomping at the bit to get back into competition. Their 2019 season was one memorable ride, beating everyone they faced except one team — Delmar.
Normally, their regular season is 15 games, with about two games per week. However, this year, the field hockey program will play a 12-game schedule that starts on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Polytech. It is the first of three straight games to start the season. Their first home game will be a week later, on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Games will be spread out from Oct. 20 to Nov. 24, with most weeks still maintaining the two-game schedule. There is one week where the Indians will play a three-game slate.
They will travel to multiple-time defending Division II state champion Delmar on Thursday, Oct. 29, while hosting similarly defending Division I state champion Cape Henlopen on Thursday, Nov. 12.
For the football program, the usual 10-game schedule has been reduced to seven this year. The Indians went 2-8 overall last year and have a solid young core back again this year.
IR will open its season on the road on Friday, Oct. 23, against Seaford at 7 p.m. Their home opener will be the following week, as they host Laurel. Among their other opponents: Polytech (Nov. 6), Woodbridge (Nov. 13), First State Military Academy (Nov. 20), Delmar (Nov. 27) and Lake Forest (Dec. 4).
The IR boys’ soccer team will also play a 12-game schedule, with their first three games at friendly home confines as they host Polytech on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Five of their first six games are home before they wrap up the second half of their season with a heavy road schedule.
Normally, the Indians would be playing a 15-game slate, so to only lose three games is a relatively small impact. IR went 13-4-1 overall in 2019, falling in the DIAA Division II state semifinals.
The IR girls’ volleyball team will play a 12-game slate as well, with seven of those matches on the road, including the first three, against Polytech, Sussex Academy and Sussex Tech, starting on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Their first home match will be on Tuesday, Oct. 27, against Smyrna.
With so many unknowns regarding COVID and the health and safety protocols that are currently in place, whether or not fans can actually be in attendance — among other important details — was all still being worked out as of Coastal Point press time mid-week.
There has been no mention of a postseason, and whether one will be possible is also among the items that are still being discussed.
But the most important thing for student-athletes is that they are back in action, and getting themselves prepared to participate in sports again, regaining some sense of normalcy.