After suffering their first loss of the season on Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sussex Tech, 2-1, the Indians were able to get back to their winning ways with a pair of wins over Cape Henlopen and Laurel this week.
In their loss to the Ravens, IR had held a 1-0 lead in the first half after Juan Linares scored six minutes into the game. However, Tech battled back to tie the score at 1-1 just 23 minutes later.
They would score the go-ahead and eventual game-winner in the second half with 17 minutes remaining. Zach Neal made six saves in the game, and IR managed just eight shots and three penalty corners.
Against Cape, again IR jumped out to an early lead, but this time it was Jared Cordoba getting the Indians on the board with an assist from Jhony Ortiz.
Cape responded with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Yves Graf made sure the IR deficit was short-lived as he buried a pass from Juan Linares to tie the score at 2-2. Less than three minutes later, Graf did it again with a helper from Luke McCabe to give IR the 3-2 lead heading into the intermission.
Seven minutes into the second half, Graf notched his third goal for a hat trick unassisted for what wound up being the game-winner.
The Indians worked their way to four penalty corner opportunities, and fired off 18 shots in the game. Neal came up with seven saves for the win in this one.
IR faced a formidable task with visiting Laurel on a night when the Indians were honoring their seven seniors.
Neither team was able to get on the board through the first 35 minutes.
It was Graf again igniting the Indians and their faithful in the stands as he made several nice moves, and punched the ball just past Laurel goalkeeper Jailon Gillespie with 16:58 left in regulation for the 1-0 lead.
It remained that way until Laurel’s Daniel Linares-Chilel snuck the ball past IR’s Neal with just about two minutes remaining.
There was no score through the first overtime, and both teams truly looked to be tiring out while fighting through the dropping temperatures.
However, it was Cordoba taking a pass from Graf — who made some sensational moves around three Bulldog defenders — burying the ball past a diving Gillespie with just about five minutes left in the game that gave the Indians the 2-1 win.
“(Laurel) is very athletic, and very well organized,” head coach Steve Kilby said after the win over the Bulldogs. “Playing (Monday) night against Cape, huge emotional game … we extended a lot of emotional energy in that game. For our first 11 to come out, and play into overtime (Tuesday) says a lot.
“We had chances that we didn’t put away in regulation, which put us in that position. We had very poor marking on their set piece, pushed us into overtime.”
Gillespie had a strong night for the Bulldogs making 11 impressive saves throughout the contest. He faced 22 shots from the Indians.
IR’s Neal also made some nice saves to pick up the win, but did not face the barrage that his counterpart did.
“He is legit,” Kilby said of the Laurel netminder. “Jailon is a phenomenal goalie. He made four saves (Tuesday) that you see on TV. Just a really, really great athlete.”
The win makes IR’s record 10-1 on the season with four road contest remaining in the regular season, including a very important contest Thursday, Oct. 25, against Sussex Academy for what could be the South Division Championship. Results from the game can be found on our Facebook page since that game was played after Coastal Point press time.
By Jason Feather