After last year, when the Indians missed the mark on both a division and conference title, the returning members of the 2018 squad made it their mission to return the hardware back to Dagsboro.
Step one: Mission accomplished.
Junior Jared Cordoba buried a penalty kick opportunity in the 25th minute in a 1-0 win over Sussex Academy last Thursday, Oct. 25, that clinched the Henlopen Conference South Division title for the Indians, returning them to the conference championship game. IR will face North Division champion Caesar Rodney at the DE Turf Sports Complex on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m.
The win for the Indians — at the time — was their 11th of the season. Since then they’ve rattled off another pair of wins that included a 1-0 decision of Milford and a 7-2 shellacking of Holly Grove Christian School (MD).
Cordoba scored the game-winner in the victory over Milford, and added another four to his ledger against HG. For the season, Cordoba has a team-high 18 goals to go along with 11 assists.
“It was intense, and I don’t know if I would say if I had fun, but I think the crowd was into it,” veteran field boss Steve Kilby said after the Sussex Academy win. “Both teams played really hard. I know that’s a really well-coached team over there in SAS. They were essentially playing for a division title. They’ve never won one, so we knew they were gonna come out and be up for it.”
The Indians controlled the ball for much of the first half, but neither team really did much in the way of getting shots on goal. Both teams struggled to penetrate the others defensive zones. One thing was certain though, they both left everything they had out on the pitch in this one.
“We lost it last year. Didn’t win the conference, but made it to the (state) finals. I told the boys you went all season (last year) without any trophy or title so here is your chance to at least get something this year,” Kilby admitted to telling his team during his pre-game talk. “We possessed (the ball) so well. We moved the ball, and just couldn’t get on some of the passes we created.”
In the win over Milford, it was another hard-fought affair for the Indians, and it was again on the road. Cordoba took a pass from Alex DiLuzio, and buried his shot into the back of the net at the 49:40 mark for the lone goal of the game.
Milford did a nice job of possessing the ball and creating opportunities, but the Indians thwarted them each time. The Bucs actually had more corners (9-4) and more shots (8-7) than IR. Zach Neal made four saves to pick up the shutout win.
Despite HG being winless on the season (0-13), IR played a very impressive game considering that it was the second straight in two nights, and again on the road.
Cordoba opened the scoring for IR with the first of his four goals in the contest on an assist from Tony Velasquez.
The roles were reversed for IR’s second goal that gave them a 2-1 lead — an advantage they never relinquished for the rest of the game — just three minutes later when Cordoba fed Velasquez for a score. Cordoba added two more before the break with assists from Willem Lambertson and Jhony Ortiz.
Cordoba opened the second half with his final goal of the contest on a helper from DiLuzio. Yonafer de Leon and Luke Morgan scored the final two goals for the Indians, who now sport a 13-1 overall mark.
The Eagles’ two goals in the game were own-goals by IR.
The Indians had one final regular season game against Charter School on Thursday, Nov. 1. Results for that contest can be found on our Facebook page as it was played after Coastal Point press time.
By Jason Feather