The Indian River volleyball team claimed the Henlopen Conference Southern Division crown with a 3-1 win over Sussex Tech Oct. 26.
IR is set to face Smyrna in the Henlopen Conference championship match at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30, at Woodbridge.
After the Ravens’ first-set win, the Indians took over, scoring 25-22, 25-23 and 25-14 victories in the next three sets.
Indian River senior Julia Bomhardt picked up the slack of Raychel Ehlers, who was sick and did not play. Bomhardt led the Indians with 21 kills in the match.
“Raychel’s out, so I had to take her spot tonight,” said Bomhardt.
“Julia has been playing better every week,” said Indians coach Jim Barnes. “She missed the first three weeks due to a car accident. She’s an incredible athlete. We’re so happy to have her. She and Raychel are our bookends. I’m proud of my girls. They’ve had some challenges like today, and they have overcome them.”
IR senior setter Mckenzie Johnson tallied 41 assists in the win. Siera Johnson knocked down nine kills. Brandi Mitchell and Natalie Burnshaw each scored five kills. Libero Jessica Amezcua bumped nine digs in the winning effort. Setter Hayley Wilson got 16 assists on the night.
The Ravens were led by seniors Megan Perdue and Aliyah Browning, who each scored 10 kills in the match. Libero Kayla Booros tallied 18 digs, while Paige Shockely and Perdue garnered nine and seven digs, respectively.
The Ravens did give the Indians a scare by taking the first set 25-21.
“We played well,” said Sussex Tech coach Carle Kling. “We didn’t have a great season, but we really played well tonight.”
“I don’t think they were expecting us to play that well,” said Tech’s Perdue. “I think it’s the difference in how we’ve been playing, and I think we went out with a bang, and it was a very exciting way to end our senior year.”
“We certainly haven’t been on our game, and anyone can attest to that,” said Tech’s Browning. “But tonight we picked it up and not only showed what we were capable of this year, but we showed what our junior class and what our younger girls are capable of next year.”
There was a chant of vamos chicas [come on, girls] from the Sussex Tech bench as the first game progressed. It was in tribute to Tech’s Spanish exchange student Natalia Martinez Serrano, who played two sets in the match, finishing with two kills and two blocks.
“Natalia hasn’t played much this season, but she played great tonight,” said Kling.
Kling also gave accolades to her seniors.
“Megan, Aliyah, Emily and Rachael Breneman have done a great job. I’m really proud of them.”
Indian River was awarded the seventh seed in the upcoming DIAA State Tournament. They will face the winner of the Thursday, Nov. 2 match between Sussex Academy and Red Lion Christian Academy. The second-round game is set for Saturday, Nov. 4.