Every year, the mindset for the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team is to continue its yearly success on the pitch.
Over the course of their last 10 years, the Indians have never had a losing record and have averaged 13 wins a season. After another Henlopen Conference South Division title last year, IR hopes to avenge their disappointing conference championship loss on penalty kicks to Caesar Rodney and finally get themselves that elusive DIAA Division II state crown.
“As with every year, the team looks to win the Henlopen South,” said veteran coach Steve Kilby, who will be in his 15th season at the helm. “We also are looking to win the Henlopen championship, and certainly we want to challenge for the Division II title.”
To do so, the Indians will have to replace two key cogs from last year’s team, in captains Sammi Whelen and goalkeeper Fabrea McCray.
With senior captains Mackenzie Gorey, Isabella Keith and Grace Engel leading the way, the Indians certainly have the talent and depth to fill those voids and accomplish their team goals.
Leading scorers from last year were sophomores Izzy Binko and Sia Diakos, and they are back, looking to continue their impressive first seasons of high school soccer. Also in the mix are Kayley Belzner, Micayla Meehan, Avery Congleton, Jordyn Hogsten and Tobi Lorusso.
A strong group of freshman newcomers will provide the team with talented depth and should be able to contribute right away. Hanna Bird, Hannah Bird — yes, there are two of them; one has an H at the end of her name — Brynn McCabe, Madison Tipton, Chloe Beam and Jocelyn Espinoza are those six freshmen.
Over the course of his 15 years leading the IR program, Kilby has amassed 189 wins, and certainly career victory No. 200 is well within reach this season.
The Indians will open their 2019 campaign on the road against Polytech on Tuesday, March 26, where they will look to get off on the right foot after dropping a 1-0 decision to Poly last year. It was the first time in the program’s history that they had lost to the Panthers.
After that, IR will host Woodbridge on Thursday, March 28, and Sussex Central on Tuesday, April 2.
By Jason Feather