IR girls’ soccer downs Lake Forest, but aims to improve .500 record
It has been more than a decade since Indian River High School’s varsity girls’ soccer team saw a record fail to go positive, but with a 4-4 record at this season’s midpoint, head coach Steve Kilby knows there needs to be some changes if they are to finish out on the same high note that they have displayed in years past. Fortunately, a 5-3 win at Lake Forest this past Tuesday, April 24, may have gotten the Lady Indians back on the right track after they dropped their previous two matches to Cape Henlopen and Smyrna.
Tuesday’s game was a back-and-forth battle through early in the second half. Brianna Belifiore and Christina Diakos each scored a first-half goal for the Lady Indians, but freshman Amanda Queen answered each within minutes to even the score for the Spartans, 2-2 by halftime.
Belifiore got things started in the second half with a goal in the 55th minute, but Lake Forest’s Summer Gannon knotted the game at 3-3. Ten minutes later, a Spartans’ own goal trickled into the back of the net, to nudge the Lady Indians ahead, and Diakos finished it off with a late drive and score to finish off Lake Forest, 5-3.
Indian River outshot the Lady Spartans 20-12, and IR goalkeeper Alex Myers registered six saves.
Although he still wants to see improvement, Kilby said he was pleased with the way his midfielders and attackers played together.
“Christina [Diakos] has been playing as a central mid,” he noted, “and she has done a very nice job for us. I wanted to get her outside [against Lake Forest] to serve some balls in and get their defense stretched out.
“Brianna works really hard,” he added, “and with a little more focus, I think she can develop into a dangerous player for opponents.”
Lake Forest’s three-goal game on Tuesday tied the most number of goals they have scored on any single opponent this year. The other came in late March, during the Spartans’ only win of the year, a 3-0 shutout against Delmarva Christian High School.
As for the Indians, it’s been an uphill battle all season long, and it doesn’t look to get any easier. In their next five games, the Lady Indians will face five opponents who currently possess winning records, including an undefeated Caesar Rodney team that finished 15-0 last year.
In order to help them overcome their competition, Kilby highlighted several aspects of the game that he wanted the Lady Indians players to improve upon.
“We haven’t finished a lot of our chances,” noted Kilby. “That’s something we need to fix. Our defense hasn’t been fantastic, either. We need to give that some more attention. A lot of this is due to the lack of experience that many of our players have. We were unlucky here and there with some of our earlier games this season. Our attitudes and focus need to be there for the entire game.”
The Lady Indians are scheduled to host Delmar on Friday, April 27, before testing their efforts against an undefeated Caesar Rodney team on Tuesday, May 1.
“At practice,” Kilby said, “we want to improve our speed of play with the ball and our defensive shape. That is what will make the difference in these games coming up.”