IR field hockey takes lumps, but keeps game close
The Lady Indians have faced a tough field hockey schedule of late, and although they are coming out on the bottom side of the games, they are still taking each game in stride and pulling the positives from each and every one.
Indian River head coach Julene Williamson understood Tuesday’s game against an undefeated Cape Henlopen team was not going to be an easy one. But, by halftime, the game was still scoreless, as the pursuing Vikings battled from behind an aggressive offense. Cape sisters Hannah and Rebecca Pepper were able to put together a collective three goals late in the game to secure another win, vanquishing IR’s chances for a victory.
“This was no easy win,” said Cape Henlopen head coach Nicole Catanzaro, whose team returned this past Saturday from Upper Dublin High in Fort Washington, Pa., where they managed a tie, the only non-win on their schedule so far. “Clearly, Indian River came to play. It took us some time to adjust. We came away from a game in Pennsylvania with fast turf. The transition can sometimes slow you down. All fields are different.”
The Lady Vikings have knocked off teams like Sussex Central, 8-0, scored seven goals against both Lake Forest and Woodbridge, and managed five goals in games against Dover, Delmar and Middletown.
“We know we can’t count anybody out,” Catanzaro added. “We play one game at a time, knowing that anybody can step up on any given day. Our girls have to come out every game to play.”
The performance from the Lady Indians was a valiant one, as Taylor Wharton tallied 19 saves in goal.
“Considering the game was scoreless at half, we played really well,” said Williamson of the 3-0 loss to the Lady Vikings. “We stepped up to the challenge and gave it our best effort,” she added. “Our defense really stood up today. Cape is one of the better teams in the state, not just the conference.” Only four days earlier, the Lady Indians were able to hold Caravel Academy, a strong team to the north, to one goal.
The mesh of young players, including upperclassmen with minimal experience, has slowly pulled together, and with the home stretch of games approaching, they’re hoping to finish with some more tallies in the win column.
“We don’t have as much experience as a lot of these teams out here,” noted Williamson. “You see other teams play, and our girls understand the amount of work it took for teams to get there. We’re just trying to build upon everything and fix the rough patches.”
Indian River (1-7-1) sits at the bottom of the conference, only a few games behind Laurel (3-6), who they faced this Thursday, Oct. 8, on the road, after the Coastal Point’s press deadline. The Lady Indians’ next three games, against Sussex Tech, Polytech and Lake Forest, will offer home-field advantage – a nice switch for the team after traveling for five straight road games earlier this season.