After a slow start to the 2007 field hockey season, the Lady Indians have picked up the pace by winning three straight games, including a 4-3 overtime win over Polytech on Oct. 9.
Additionally, the Lady Indians defeated Sussex Tech and Archmere Academy at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Turf Bowl.
“Ever since Sussex Tech, something’s clicked and they’ve been playing great,” Lady Indians first-year coach Caitlin Harker said. “They’ve finally committed to the gameplan. Everyone is doing the little things and has made big steps.”
The Lady Indians’ overtime game against Polytech on Tuesday marked the fourth time they’ve played past regulation this season. And, during that span, they’ve accrued a 2-1-1 overtime record.
Polytech, on the other hand, played their first overtime game this season against Indian River, and though they simulate these situations in practice, there is no substitute for the pressures of a real game, according to Lady Panthers head coach Barry Fillmore.
“Experience never hurts, obviously,” he said of Indian River’s overtime résumé this season. “We practice these situations, but sometimes it can be a little different when you get in the game.”
“I think our girls are used to overtime by now,” Harker said. “When you’re playing 7-versus-7, the field is the same but the game is different. And now our girls know what to do. They know how to chase the ball and how to slow it down when they need to.”
Polytech (6-4, 4-4) jumped out to a 3-1 first-half lead behind some solid strokes, but despite their lead, Indian River (4-5-1) never quit and actually played stronger as the game went on.
Indian River’s offensive opportunities in the first half were limited to seven corners and a handful of frenzied attacks. Jenny Morin scored the Lady Indians’ lone goal in the first half.
The Lady Indians regrouped in the second half and totaled 17 corners and were much more successful converting in Polytech’s circle.
“Our girls came out a little flat and Polytech took advantage of that, but we started to capitalize in the second half,” Harker said. “They’ve become more do-or-die in the circle.”
Jordan Warrington and Morgan Sheats each scored a goal in the second half to knot the score up at three apiece. Warrington had a chance to win the game outright in regulation, on a penalty shot, but it was blocked. Indian River maintained the momentum they gained in the second half, and Sheats was able to put Polytech away with the game-winning goal.
“Morgan has really done a great job communicating and creating offense,” Harker said. “She’s always on the field, busting, and always plays to win.”
Additionally, Harker cited outstanding performances by her defense and the rest of her starting forwards (Morin, Warrington and Erin Warner) for contributing in the win.
“The defense has been doing an amazing job for the most part, and my forwards as a unit are unstoppable,” she said. “They all want it.”
The Lady Indians will play Lake Forest on Oct. 11 and then head on the road to play Sussex Central and Smyrna on Oct. 16 and 18, respectively.