With three games in the same week, the Indian River High School field hockey team was put to the test to start off the 2016 season but still managed to come out with three straight wins and a 3-0 record for the second year in a row.
“It was a very tough week for them,” said IR head coach Jodi Stone. “In high school, playing three games in one week is a lot — especially still getting acclimated to going to school all day and then practicing in the afternoon — so they really held their own. I’m very proud of them.”
Indians 3, Laurel 0
(Thursday, Sept. 15)
After taking down Tech on Tuesday, the Indians faced off against Laurel in their home opener on Thursday, Sept. 15, rolling the Bulldogs 3-0.
Freshman midfielder Rylie Cordrey led the scoring in that game, netting her first career varsity goal with just over 23:00 left in the first half, off an assist from senior forward Lexi Haden.
Cordrey would go on to score her second career varsity goal just over five minutes later, making it 2-0 on an assist from senior defender Maggie Ford.
Ford tallied her second assist of the game when she found Haden, who took it to the cage for her first goal of the season and the Indians’ third of the game, with 21:33 left on the clock.
With the Indians’ win, Laurel hasn’t beat Indian River in field hockey since 2013.
Indians 3, Woodbridge 0
(Saturday, Sept. 17)
The Blue Raiders were responsible for snapping the Indians’ win streak last season, edging IR on a late goal in a game in near need of overtime.
But with a new team and new year, the Indians were ready for redemption when the two teams squared up in Bridgeville on Saturday, Sept. 17, with the Indians jumping out to a 3-0 halftime lead and claiming an eventual 3-0 victory.
“We use it as motivation to do better this year,” said junior Sammi Whelen of last year’s losses.
“We were coming in looking for a win,” added Ford. I think, just this year in general, our mentality is more positive. We’re all just more passionate. We all want to score, we all want to win, and we’re all striving and pushing the extra mile. I think we expect a lot out of each other.”
Senior forward Madi McGee got the Indians on the board first, on a goal assisted by Rylie Cordrey with 16:54 left to go in the half.
Lexi Haden found the net less than 10 minutes later, on an assist from McGee, with the two teaming up yet again with just under a minute to go, Haden with her second goal and McGee with her second assist.
The 3-0 division victory was Stone’s first over the Blue Raiders since taking over as head coach in 2013 — interestingly enough, coming against two of her former players on the Woodbridge coaching staff.
“They’re scrappy. They’re a go-getting team and they don’t give up — and they didn’t give up, at all,” Stone said after the game.
Junior keeper Mya Parks had two saves in the matchup — one of them coming at the end of regulation on a diving stop in front of the net to ensure the shutout.
While hard work and dedication are apparent in the team’s 3-0 start and 2-0 division record, superstitious fans may agree that Whelen’s new cornrows — braided before each game, thanks to Haden — might have something to do with their success so far.
“I’m wearing them all season, every game,” said Whelen with a laugh.
Up next, the Indians will face Smyrna at home on Thursday, Sept. 22. The Eagles are 2-1-1 on the season, their only loss coming to 2015 state champion Cape Henlopen 4-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 9. Last season, the Eagles edged the Indians 2-0.
The game is set to begin at 4 p.m.
IR season stats:
Goals: L. Haden (3), M. McGee (3), R. Cordrey (2)
Assists: M. Ford (2), L. Haden (2), M. McGee (2), R. Cordrey (1)
Saves: M. Parks (8)