It was a play that they had been through before.
In fact, during practice the previous day, Indian River High School head field hockey coach Jodi Stone and assistant coach Molly Chamberlin had their squad going through it for nearly an hour straight.
But practice made perfect when the Indians hosted Dover on Saturday, Oct. 29, and when freshman midfielder Kaylee “K-Hall” Hall made her way down the field and through three Dover defenders late in the second half, setting up the exact same play they had been working on the day previous.
After breaking free of blue jerseys, Hall would drove a pass towards the front of the cage where senior forward Madi McGee and Rylie Cordrey were waiting for their chance, and Cordrey knocked in the shot on the back door before the Dover keeper could get to the post to put the Indians up 1-0 on what would eventually end up the game-winner.
“The goal was just a textbook play — we practiced break-a-ways for a solid hour in practice yesterday,” said Chamberlin after the game. “K-Hall dribbled down, Madi knew to run right to goal — she was there to stop it before the goalie did and Rylie one-touched it in.”
“It’s a lot different atmosphere in the game but I think we practiced it enough that we were ready for it,” added Cordrey of her sixth goal of the season.
With just over 16 minutes left to go, the Senators were kept off the board with several key defensive stops from Cordrey’s sister, junior defender Kaleigh Cordrey, senior defender Maggie Ford, junior defender Sammi Whelen in her second game back from a knee-injury, and sophomore defender Mckenzie Gorey along with three saves from junior goalie Mya Parks.
The win improved the Indians to 10-5 on the season — their first winning season since 2006 — as they currently wait to hear about what would be their first possible playoff appearance since 2006, with the tournament bracket yet to be announced as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
It also comes in the aftermath of two last-minute losses earlier last week, the first a 2-1 overtime loss to Lake Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and the second a 2-1 loss to Milford on Thursday, Oct. 27, after the Bucs managed a goal with only two seconds left in the game.
“It was really hard to take on Tuesday and Thursday — it was a really tough week,” said Stone. “We did what we needed to do Thursday after the game, we started fresh yesterday in practice and we’re moving forward.”
Not only were possible playoff implications on the line during Saturday’s game, but it was also the last home game for IR seniors Lexi Haden, Erin Haden, Maggie Ford, and Madi McGee — all of whom started off 1-14 as freshman and who, along with Stone, helped progress the program to where it is today.
“For the seniors, I told them that this was possibly their last home game on this field so they needed to make the best of it,” said Stone. “They worked really hard all season — unfortunately, the numbers don’t really demonstrate how hard we’ve worked, how close we’ve come, or how far we’ve come.
“They knew what was at stake but we tried not to put the pressure on them. We just said that we need to end the season on a positive note with a win.”
At 10-5, the Indians were very much on the bubble with the DIAA expected to announce the tournament bracket sometime on Thursday, Nov. 3, or Friday, Nov. 4, and with all games supposed to be finalized on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
While they remain hopeful on a post-season appearance and will continue to practice throughout the week, no matter the outcome, they’re still taking pride in what has been unquestionably their most successful season in more than a decade.
“Coming into this game we had a lot of motivation,” said Cordrey. “We really wanted to win, we really want to be in the playoffs but even if we’re not we’re going to be very proud of ourselves because of how we played today.”
IR game stats:
Goals: R. Cordrey (1)
Assists: K. Hall (1)
Saves: M. Parks (3)