IRHS field hockey looks for strong finish on season

The Lady Indians varsity field hockey team continued their winning ways on Oct. 16 with a 2-0 shutout over rival Sussex Central.

IR Field Hockey 10-19: Erin Warner drives upfield toward the Sussex Central goal in IR’s shut-out, 2-0 win on Tuesday, Oct. 16.Coastal Point • JOHN DENNY
Erin Warner drives upfield toward the Sussex Central goal in IR’s shut-out, 2-0 win on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Over their last five games, the Lady Indians have lost only to Lake Forest while winning their other four games.

Against Sussex Central, Indian River (5-6-1) struck early and kept their boot on the Lady Golden Knights by scoring a second goal off a corner just before the half and with textbook defense.

Indian River’s Jordan Warrington got her team on the board within the first five minutes of the game with a strong stoke just inside the circle.

Molly Benner scored the Lady Indians second and final goal as the first half neared an end, with a little help from a deflection from Jenny Morin, following a successful corner play.

“They say in field hockey, as well as other sports, I’m sure, that most goals are scored in the first five minutes and the last five minutes of each period. And it’s nice to see that validated,” Lady Indians first-year head coach Caitlin Harker said.

Harker said she was pleased to see her team take an early lead and later extend it, because the uphill climb of winning a come-from-behind game can be difficult.

“Nobody wants to have to react, because it makes their job harder,” she said.

And armed with the lead, Harker’s mind was at ease — not because she didn’t feel Sussex Central couldn’t win, but because she had complete confidence in her defense.

The Sussex Central attack fell on the defensive play of Marlena Schleifer, Lindsay McCabe and Kaitlin Binsted like water on rock.

Their attack had a hard time penetrating Indian River’s defensive shell and never produced a real threat to Lady Indians goalie Abi Buchler, who didn’t have a save in the game.

“Our defense has been an amazing unit,” Harker gushed. “When they’re on, they’re unbelievable. And even when they’re off, they’re great, because they work beautifully together.

“They did their job very well,” Harker added.

The regular season ends for the Lady Indians with a home game against Woodbridge on Oct. 27 and though they started out slow, their improved performance lends hope that they could earn a low seed in this year’s state tournament with a strong finish, according to Harker.

“If we were to win the rest of our games, we might earn a 15th or 16th seed. But that depends on what happens,” she said.

The Lady Indians’ final four regular-season opponents are Smyrna, Caravel Academy, Caesar Rodney and Woodbridge.