IR girls soccer evens out to a 2-2 start
It’s been an up-and-down start to the Lady Indians’ varsity soccer season, which leveled out to 2-2 after slipping to Caravel Academy 3-1 earlier this week. Indian River began their season on Tuesday, March 27, with a 1-0 shutout over Milford, before falling to Sussex Tech on Thursday, March 29. They bounced back the subsequent Saturday, while hosting a 3-1 win over Red Lion Christian Academy, but the Lady Buccaneers of Caravel bested them to a .500 record that head coach Steve Kilby hopes to overcome quickly.
“We knew coming into this year,” said Kilby, “that we were a young and inexperienced team, when it came to the varsity level. But we’re trying to get everyone on the same page, as far as the system of play goes. They need to assume their roles and go with that.”
Caravel scored three first-half goals, just like the Lady Ravens had against the Indians the week before. Though it put Indian River in a hole they could not overcome, closing the gap in each game by only one second-half goal each time, Kilby recognized a determination and fight in his young squad.
“There is a plus to come out of both of our losses,” he said. “We won the second half of both games – not that it means a whole lot if you can’t close that margin, but it shows the girls can make in-game adjustments. There’s that silver lining, knowing that they still keep playing hard, even if the game’s not in their favor.”
Senior Kelsey Minyon was able to score off an assist from Christina Diakos in the 66th minute, but the youthful Indian River roster couldn’t battle back.
“We definitely have some decent technical players on the field, especially at midfield,” said Kilby, “but we’re a small team, and that makes it hard to win and hold the ball.”
While teams like Caravel struggled through growing pains and inexperience over the past few seasons, and the Indians enjoyed an established team growing together, Kilby said the tables have turned this year.
“We’re seeing a reversal of the roles,” he noted. “This year, Caravel’s youth has paid off, whereas before, they were the novices and we had the seasoned players. Now, we’re mostly sophomores and freshmen, with a few upperclassmen sprinkled in there, and we’ve got to get everyone working together.”
The Lady Indians were scheduled to travel to Woodbridge on Thursday, April 5, (after Coastal Point press deadline) before resting up during spring break.
“Our coaching staff has talked about this game,” Kilby noted, “and my main concern is if we lose, we’ll have three losses going into that break. We’d like to, hopefully, change that and have three wins. I need our girls to focus on playing to that next level when we’re the better team in a matchup. This group doesn’t always recognize when they are the better team. We need to see them turn it on and display that sense of urgency.”
So far, Kilby has seen strong play from a number of players, particularly sophomore keeper Alex Meyers.
“She has really stepped into the starting goalkeeper position nicely,” he said. “We haven’t missed a beat, as far as the goalie spot is concerned. She’s athletic, has great reactions and comes off the line well. Our keepers before weren’t always tested in every game, but so far, she has shown us the quality goalkeeper she is.”
Brianna Belfiore, he added, has adjusted to the front line, while senior Maria Diakos has taken on a strong defensive stance. He added that Christian Diakos and Meredith Mitchell have helped to control the midfield.
In addition to picking up a win leading to the break, Kilby also hopes to see some improvement with some early-season injuries that have sprouted up.
“Ashley Conroe has a sprained ligament in her knee, which saw some swelling, and Ashley White suffered a minor ankle sprain. We’re hoping to get them both back as soon as we can.”