IR girls’ soccer looking to clinch South after 10th straight win

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: IR senior Maggie Ford congratulates junior Sammi Whelen after her goal against Laurel on Thursday, May 4.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: IR senior Maggie Ford congratulates junior Sammi Whelen after her goal against Laurel on Thursday, May 4.Amongst the 100th-career-goal celebrations and River Soccer Club halftime shows at the Indian River High School soccer stadium last week, it was back to business as usual for the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team as they approached their final stretch of the regular season and aimed for a fifth consecutive Henlopen South division title.

With wins over Laurel on Thursday, May 4, over Ursuline Academy on Saturday, May 6, and over Polytech on Tuesday, May 9, the Indians now find themselves 11-1 overall and riding a 10-game win streak, not having lost a game since falling to Caesar Rodney, 3-2, on March 28.

“We’re playing pretty well right now,” said head coach Steve Kilby after the 8-0 win over Laurel on May 4. “I was very happy with how the younger girls played tonight. They were moving the ball and moving off of the ball well.”

Senior forward Maddie Hogsten scored the first goal of that matchup on what was the 100th of her career, joining former teammate Brooke Beam as one of only two players in IR soccer history to ever reach the century mark.

After being presented the 100 ball with a special celebration from her teammates, it was Hogsten who would get things going again, when she sent a pass to junior forward Sammi Whelen, who finished the chance top-shelf, to make it 2-0. Whelen would then go on to return the favor just a minute later, setting up Hogsten for career goal No. 101.

Goals from junior forward Zena Lowman and freshman forward Avery Congleton would push the lead to 5-0 before the halftime show, featuring an exhibition game from the River Soccer Club.

“The soccer legacy at Indian River is kind of a special thing. It goes through stages, and it all starts at River Soccer Club,” Kilby said of the night’s added occasion. “Our girls will still talk about the night that they came and played a game and were ball-girls when they were at River.”

With the comfortable lead, the Indians would go on to play possession in half No. 2, but would still manage a four more scores before the final whistle.

In the 65th minute, sophomore defender Mackenzie Gorey scored her first goal of the season after seeing some minutes in the midfield and being awarded a penalty kick that would make it 8-0.

Freshman forward Riley Cordrey would close things out when she scored the game’s final goal, which, incidentally, was the first of her career.

“The goalie got a hand on it, but it went in,” said Cordrey, who was no stranger to the stat box on the field hockey field this season for the Indians but who has missed time on the soccer team this spring with an injury. “This game was good experience. I missed a lot of this season, but I’m glad to be back out there.”

On what was a night that celebrated one of the program’s most-storied careers as it approaches its close, the Indians also saw key contributions from some other careers just starting up, including freshmen and sisters Avery and Saylor Congleton.

“We knew that Maddie was probably going to get it today, so we were excited for the game,” said Avery Congleton, who finished with a goal and an assist on the day. “It shows us that it’s something [where] you work hard, you can try to do and eventually maybe get there.”

“It’s nice seeing the River girls come out to watch us and be excited to play here, too,” added Saylor Congleton of the night’s festivities.

The Indians kept things rolling with a 3-0 win over Ursuline Academy on Saturday, May 6, and a 9-0 win on the road against Polytech on Tuesday, May 9.

At 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the Henlopen South with three regular-season games left to go, they still needed wins against Sussex Academy and Woodbridge to officially claim their fifth straight division title and punch their ticket to the Henlopen Conference championship game.

They were set to face the Seahawks this Thursday, May 11, in a game at Sussex Academy at 5:15 p.m.