Indians ready for conference championship after 5th consecutive Henlopen South title

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The Indian River High School soccer team honored their seniors before their May 16 game.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: The Indian River High School soccer team honored their seniors before their May 16 game.The Indian River High School girls’ soccer team marked off the first checkbox on their “shortlist” last Tuesday, May 16, officially clinching their fifth consecutive Henlopen South division title with a 6-0 win over Woodbridge.

“The program’s only been building and getting stronger over the years,” said senior midfielder Maggie Ford of the accomplishment. “Losing all the seniors that we did last year, it just shows that, as we grow, we’ll always have new players coming up.”

The victory capped the regular season with a 14-1 record, earning them a ticket to face Henlopen North champion Caesar Rodney on Thursday, May 18, (after Coastal Point press time).

While it was Senior Night, it was sophomore forward Isabella Keith who got the scoring started in Tuesday’s matchup, putting the Indians up 1-0 on a ball from junior forward Zena Lowman in the fourth minute.

Senior forward Maddie Hogsten would net the team’s next four goals — three of them assisted by junior midfielder Sammi Whelen — bringing her career-goals total to 119 after a five-goal performance in their game against Dover on May 12 pushed her past the IRHS all-time goals mark of 114 set by Brooke Beam last spring.

“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said head coach Steve Kilby of the new team record. “We were in awe last year when Brooke set the record, and we were in awe this year when Maddie set the new one. They’re both special players.”

“I’m excited, but now we’re more focused on team goals,” said Hogsten. “We’ve got the Southern championship. Now we have Henlopen, and then we’ll have states.”

The IR defense held the Blue Raiders to only one shot on the day, as sophomore forward Skyler McClure rounded out the 6-0 win with a goal assisted by freshman Avery Congleton and sent the seniors out on a high note in their final home game at the Indian River High School soccer stadium.

“You look at these seniors, and they’ve been big-time contributors all four years of their high school careers,” said Kilby of seniors including Ford, Hogsten, Paige Troublefield and Hanna Boyer. “We weren’t sure how this season was going to shake out, but they’re a huge reason why this team’s been so successful this year.”

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Troublefield of the Senior Night ceremonies. “We know we have more games coming up, so we don’t consider this the end.”

On Thursday, the Indians were looking to check off the second item on their shortlist, and for some redemption against a CR team that handed them their only loss this season, in a 3-2 decision on March 28.

That game was set to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at Sussex Academy in Georgetown.

The first round of the DIAA state tournament will get under way on Saturday, May 20.