Indians make statement in opener with 19-5 win over Red Lion

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell : IRHS senior George ‘G-Mart’ Martin notches one of six goals on the day during a 19-5 win over ReCoastal Point • Tripp Colonell : IRHS senior George ‘G-Mart’ Martin notches one of six goals on the day during a 19-5 win over ReThe offense was clicking on all cylinders when the Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse team put up 19 points to romp over Red Lion 19-5 on Saturday, March 25.

The only thing is — it wasn’t their offense that was on the scoring roll.

With senior attackman Gianni Gottschalk sidelined for the game, senior George “G-Mart” Martin was moved down to attack from his usual role on the midfield.

Despite the one-game switch, Martin would manage a career-high 12 points on the day, with six goals and six assists.

“George, we had to play him at attack — he’s not an attackman, but he put up 12 points,” said head coach Jim Dietsch with a laugh. “I guess he might be an attackman.”

“That’s what’s exciting, that it wasn’t even our offense out there today,” added Martin of Gottschalk’s absence. “We’re going to get our lefty rifle back, have a guy that can really grip it and rip it on the left side, but it looked good, so we’re definitely going to use that to our advantage.”

Even without Gottschalk, the scoring got going early and often, when senior face-off specialist Sam Nitz won the opening draw and senior midfielder Andrew White put the Indians up 1-0.

Red Lion would tie it up with an extra-man goal after that, but Martin would find junior attackman Wyatt Kovatch up top to make it 2-1, for what was Kovatch’s first of seven goals on the day.

Back-to-back assists from junior attackman Cole “The Machete” Josetti pushed the IR lead to 4-1 as they continued to run away with the game, taking a 10-2 lead into the break.

“We were just moving the ball well. Everybody was seeing the field,” said Martin. “Most of our goals came on assists, which is exactly what we’re looking for.”

“We moved the ball extremely well. It was a team effort,” added second-year assistant coach Dave Spencer. “We wanted to stress the discipline of our offense and give some guys a chance to create some opportunities.”

After Red Lion managed back-to-back goals to start half No. 2, Martin got the scoring opportunities going once again with a well-placed howitzer into the net’s top-right corner. White would go on to find senior midfielder Max Stong on the next possession, for a diving score on the doorstep, with Josetti getting the dish from G-Mart and making it 13-4 after that.

Josetti would finish with four goals and four assists on the day, with White racking up five assists in addition to his game-opening goal.

The Indian offense also benefited from a career game on the face-off X from Nitz, with the All-Conference selection winning 95 percent of his draws on the day, going 19 for 21.

“I was beating them to the clamp every single time,” said Nitz. “We’ve been working a lot during the off-season, both on and off the field, with both speed and agility, and it’s definitely been paying off.”

“Strong point today was face-offs, 95 percent — that’s saying something,” added Dietsch, noting that Nitz has been putting in extra work in practice this year with assistant coach Arien Curcio. “Arien’s been working with him every week, allowing an hour of practice just for face-offs, which we didn’t do last year, and it’s paid off. That’s a big plus.”

Consistently putting up 20-save games throughout his career, senior goalkeeper Hayden McWilliams only had to make 10 saves on Saturday, as the defensive unit of seniors Griffin McCormick and Michael Cedano and sophomore Patrick Spencer made their debut by rendering the Red Lion offense a virtual non-factor.

After starting off the season 1-0 and making a statement in the process, the Indians were ready to get back to work headed into a division matchup against Milford on Wednesday, March 29, (after Coastal Point press time).

“We did exactly what we wanted to do, offensively and defensively, today. We just have to stay disciplined,” said Spencer. “It was a nice game, but there were still some things that we need to work on.”

“We knew we had to come out playing our best today. We’re looking at every team the same and giving it 110 percent week in and week out,” added Martin. “We’re working hard toward next week. We’re going to have Gianni back, so we’ll have all our pieces in place. So we’re really looking forward to that.”

After Milford, the Indians will head to Smyrna on Friday, March 31, for conference matchup at 4 p.m. They’ll return home to host Wilmington Christian on Saturday, April 1, for a noon non-conference matchup at Indian River High School.