The Indian River High School girls’ soccer team had a lot to celebrate on Tuesday, May 2.
Not only did they win their seventh straight game with a 5-0 victory over Smyrna, but they were also paid a visit by the next generation of IR soccer stars when players from the River Soccer Club got the chance to kick the ball around at halftime and kick it with the team after the game for high-fives and autograph signings.
“It was fun. I remember doing this when I was their age. It was the best thing ever. I thought it was so cool,” said IR sophomore defender Mackenzie Gorey of being on the other end of the experience.
“The little River girls get such a charge out of it. They really enjoy being here,” added IR head coach Steve Kilby. “We try and do something nice for them and make it a special night.”
Before that, however, it was all business for the Indians.
Going into the game just four-goals shy of 100 on her career, senior forward Maddie Hogsten got the scoring started in the first half on an assist from junior forward Zena Lowman just two-minutes in.
That would still be the score at halftime, as the team made adjustments and dialed in the offensive attack for four more scores in the second half.
“We put Sammi Whelen up to be the target player. She immediately was able to distribute to Maddie Hogsten for a couple of goals and made a difference on us being about to get turned around and get more shots,” said Kilby.
Whelen would tally three assists after switching roles, first finding Hogsten in the 54th minute and then teeing up a shot for senior midfielder Maggie Ford just two-minutes later to make it 3-0.
The junior midfielder would find Hogsten again for what would be her 99th career goal in the 62nd minute, nearly netting her 100th approaching stoppage time on a shot that was finished by sophomore forward Skyler McClure for the fifth and final score.
Defensively, junior keeper Fabrea McCray had to make only one save, diving right for an outstretched stop on a hard-lined ball from Smyrna junior forward Marissa McClenton.
“We made two mistakes with [McClenton],” said Kilby. “We specifically talked about her at half time — somebody always had to front her. We lost her twice, but we’re fortunate that Fabrea made a big save for us.”
“I think we did a good job of switching it through the back and playing it into the midfield, then to the outside and back in to find the forwards up top on a through ball,” added sophomore defender Grace Engel of the defensive stand.
While the Indians have their sights set on a fifth consecutive division title and third consecutive return to the DIAA state finals, at 8-1 overall on the season, they aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves with two more South matchups left to go.
“We’re just trying to take it day by and day and not get too far ahead of ourselves,” said Engel. “I think we’re paying attention more to ourselves than other team records or who they’ve beaten. We’re focused on us.”
“We have to go in strong,” added Gorey. “We can’t go into any games thinking, ‘Oh, we’ve got this.’ We have to go out and give it our all every game.”
The Indians were looking to check another division win off their short list on Thursday, May 4, hosting Laurel at 6 p.m. (after Coastal Point press time).
Hogsten needed just one goal in that game to become only the second player in Indian River High School soccer history to eclipse the 100-career-goals mark.
Goals: M. Hogsten (3), M. Ford (1), S. McClure (1)
Assists: S. Whelen (3), M. Hogsten (1), Z. Lowman (1)
Saves: F. McCray (1)