A young Indian River High School varsity field hockey team is still trying to find their identity under first-year head coach Cheryl Carey. The winless Lady Indians came out strong on Tuesday afternoon against Milford but slowly began to fall apart before they were able to establish an offense. Milford improved to 3-1-1 this week and walked away with a 6-0 win over Indian River, who, as of Wednesday, Sept. 29, were 0-4-2.
“We came out exactly how we needed to,” noted Carey. “Our girls were totally in the game... for the first 15 minutes. Then we struggled defensively, and Milford scored on us. Our defense recognized that, but it happened again. If we were able to knock one into the cage first, that probably would have given us the momentum we were looking for.”
Milford’s Peyton Shockley scored a hat trick, with two first-half goals and a late, second-half goal. Savannah Becker added two more, including one in the final minute of the game to push the Buccaneers ahead, 6-0.
Although her offense was unable to finish, Carey also noted that the defense needs to be more aware of their positioning and counter the attack.
“Our defense was flat-footed,” she said. “We didn’t move as well in the circle as we should have. Field hockey is all about moving your feet. We can’t stand around when the other team’s on the attack.”
The Lady Indians were able to hold Seaford to a 0-0 tie late last week, their second one of the season, but had yet to pick up a win this year. In fact, their offense hasn’t scored since their season opener, on Sept. 13, when they tied Red Lion Christian Academy, 2-2.
“We need to go back and focus on the fundamentals,” said Carey. “We can’t afford to make these small mental mistakes. We’ve improved as a team since the start of the season, but we can’t always look at the score.”
After each game, she’s asked the girls to reflect on what they did right in the game, as well as areas that may need some extra attention.
“After they recognize what they need to do differently,” she added, “we can go from there. We are starting the game strong, but we’ve got to get better at not committing offensive fouls.”
The Lady Indians will keep busy with week with Delmar on Saturday, Oct. 2, Cape Henlopen on Tuesday, Oct. 5, and Laurel on Thursday, Oct. 7.
“We definitely could have played with Milford if we didn’t let the score get to us,” Carey said. “This week, we’re going back to the drawing boards and buckling down at practices. We just need to regroup as a team and keep our heads up.”
Tuesday’s win was a welcome one for Milford, who opened with a tie against Polytech and succumbed to Laurel, two conference rivals.
“It was very important that we get back on track,” said Milford head coach Amanda Jacona. “We played with heart when we didn’t have the ball against Laurel. But we know we’ve always got to be ready for the next game.”
This past Thursday, Sept. 30, marked the first home game of the Buccaneers’ season.
“We’ve been on the road for the first three weeks of the fall,” Jacona added. “It will be nice to be back on our own field.”