IR soccer dominates the field, moves to 8-1-2
With their eyes fixed on the state title, the Indian River varsity soccer team is proving they are quite capable of reaching it — though they still have a few more tests before the tournament.
After their disheartening loss to Caesar Rodney on Sept. 30, the Indians have regained their composure, following up with three consecutive wins, overcoming Smyrna, Newark and Woodbridge in the past week.
In the first two of those matches, Indian River was on the road and, in each, found themselves at a 0-1 disadvantage. The Indians remained headstrong, finishing the games with a 2-1 victory in both before returning home Tuesday night to defeat Woodbridge with a dominating 10-1 final score.
“Coming from those games [at Seaford and Newark], we knew we still had to come out 110 percent,” said senior co-captain Chris Connover. “But we knew after Newark our schedule would ease up a little.”
Connover had the equalizer against Seaford, before junior sweeper Jake Buchler secured the win in overtime off a corner kick. Connover and sophomore forward Victor Cuenca each added a goal in the comeback win against Newark.
The Indians continued their streak against the winless Woodbridge Blue Raiders, scoring the first four goals in the opening 11 minutes. Cuenca and co-captains Peter Mais and Cameron Travalini added some goals in the win, while some not-so-familiar faces made their presence known, too. Freshman Josh Mercer, sophomores Nick Izzo, Ross Beauchamp and Harvey Webb and juniors Matt Kleinstuber and Jack Cole all knocked in one of their own.
“Games like this help us do a couple of things,” said a pleased Indian River head coach Steve Kilby. “It lets us work on possession under pressure against different people, rather than ourselves, and it lets us look at some of our younger guys.”
Leaders on the team use these easier match-ups to focus on some of the fundamentals of the game.
“We were able to work on our possession,” said Connover. “It gave us the chance to work on our touch, keep our composure and move the ball around.”
The loss to Caesar Rodney two weeks ago marked the team’s only stumble in the season thus far, as they improve to a 8-1-2 this week.
“Losing to C.R. was a huge disappointment,” said Kilby, “so finding a new level of motivation for our guys shouldn’t be too hard. Seaford played us hard, and we persevered. Newark was a real test. They beat St. Mark’s 3-2 earlier that week, and we wanted to roll in there and make sure we won that game. That was huge for us.”
The Indians were set to travel to Delmar on Thursday, Oct. 9, (after Coastal Point press deadline) for one of their last conference matches of the year. With states looming at the end of the month, it’s looking promising for Kilby’s crew, but they are making sure they don’t get sidetracked from the task at hand.
“Delmar presents a challenge,” said Kilby. “Their field is small, which hurts us because we like to open things up. I want our guys to focus on what we need to do Thursday, and the big picture will take care of itself.”
“I feel this team will be a very strong one this year,” Connover added, “and we’re hoping to make state championships, but we need to keep coming out hard and finishing. We can’t get lazy, because that’s when we don’t play to our potential.”