Indians finish second in DIAA soccer championship

Date Published: 
Nov. 24, 2017

Special to the Coastal Point photos • Susan Walls: Jared Cordoba defends against a Caravel attacker. IR lost 0-2.Special to the Coastal Point photos • Susan Walls: Jared Cordoba defends against a Caravel attacker. IR lost 0-2.Strong, cold winds swirled through and around Charles V. Williams Stadium in Smyrna last Saturday night, Nov. 18, when third-seeded Indian River High School (12-3) faced fourth-seeded Carvel Academy (13-4-1) for the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) boys’ varsity soccer championship.

Carvel — the only school getting points against IR in tournament play — used that wind to its advantage in the first period to protect their lead, and when it was at their backs, they fought furiously against the Indians in the second period to clinch the championship, blanking IR 2-0.

Caravel’s Buccaneers controlled the ball most of the first half, with Austin Hamilton nailing a shot into the net at the 28-minute mark. Buccaneer Benji Schwartz kicked in an insurance goal at the 56-minute mark.

“We had three golden opportunities to tie it up in the second half. We didn’t make the right decision, probably, and that cost us,” explained IR head coach Steve Kilby. “Then we started pushing in the final 15 minutes and then gave up. It was a great season, and I’m proud of my boys.”

IR had kicked off the state tournament the previous Saturday night, also at Smyrna, beating McKean High School 6-0. That win earned them a spot in the semi-finals against Delaware Military Academy, in a game that was played last Wednesday, Nov. 15, also in Smyrna. IR won that match 2-0.

After several missed early opportunities and with time running out in the first period, IR’s Egardo Velasquez had gotten the ball to a waiting Wilber Gonzalez-Gomez, who drove it into the net at the 39-minute mark.

IR added another goal against DMA at the 67th minute mark. That time, Velasquez punted a corner kick to Esly Carmona-Deres, who booted it into the net for the Indians’ second and final goal of the game. That win assured the Indians their third straight trip to the state championship.

“I’m sure loosing last year was extra motivation. There are some guys, especially seniors, who’ve been around for three championships, who would like to win another,” Kilby said after the Nov. 16 win.

“When you get to this level, what I call ‘big-boy soccer,’ the boys are playing harder for their team, and I think there was a lot of hard play tonight. I don’t think any of it was done with any malice. DMA is very well-coached. They’ve got a great organization. We’re just glad we won tonight.”

With returning talent growing into juniors and seniors who will groom the underclassmen, the Indians will be back in the hunt for another shot at a DIAA state championship in 2018.