IR soccer sets high goals, prepares for powerhouse teams
The new school year won’t begin until Sept. 4, but the Indian River High School boys soccer team has already played three scrimmage and field days to test their skills and check out the competition. Head coach Steve Kilby said preseason is the time for players to get their heads in the game and prepare for the coming season. He aims to get the players amped up and ready to play after the distraction of summer life.
The boys will be put to the test immediately this season, hosting frequent state champion Salesianum School for their first game of the regular season.
“That’s why we put them on the schedule,” said Kilby. “Two years ago, we beat them. Last year they beat us. I think we have enough experience and talent that we can play with them, and the result will speak for itself.”
There’s no denying the power of IR soccer. Kilby said he hopes to begin by winning the Henlopen Conference for the third year in a row, which he said is a big deal, as they beat teams including Dover and Caesar Rodney.
“The big part of our success is we have kids who will play club soccer all year ’round, and when they train with us, I believe it is still very high-level training. It’s got focus,” said Kilby. “We’ve got great support from our assistant coaches, Brant Mais and Nick Slonin.”
In 2011, the boys’ 12-2-1 record earned them the No. 6 seed at the state tournament before St. Marks topped them in the quarterfinals. They consistently rank high in state soccer.
Last year’s senior class dominated the midfield and attack positions, so Kilby is turning to this year’s seniors to move the ball where it needs to be.
“Two seniors will play defensive mids, who started last year as juniors, so that’s a big deal for us. Alberto Pacheco and Collier Donald,” said Kilby. “Our attacking mid role will be filled by Luis Cruz or Sam Izzo. They’ll rotate through that role.”
Junior Sam Cannon will guard the goal fulltime this year, having shared the duty in 2011.
“I believe this group probably has the potential to go further in the tournament. We just have to see how hard they will work,” Kilby concluded.
The first boys’ soccer game is scheduled at home, against Salesianum, on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 3:30 p.m. at the old high school field.