It’s a phrase often used by Indian River High School head soccer coach Steve Kilby when one of his teams is approaching the playoffs.
It’s also the case as the Indians gear up for a rematch against Sussex Central and a chance at a second consecutive Henlopen Conference title on Monday, Nov. 7.
Despite back to back losses last week, the Indians still look to be “trending upwards” after getting edged by Division 1 powerhouse Charter School (11-2-1) on a penalty kick on Saturday, Oct. 29, and then falling to nationally-ranked Salesianum (13-1-1) on yet another game-deciding penalty kick in overtime on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Sallies took a 1-0 lead on an own goal in the 22nd minute of that game, but IR senior forward Mikie “Machine Gun” Mochiam tacked on the equalizer just three minutes later with the score remaining 1-1 at half.
Senior forward Johan Cordoba gave the Indians a 2-1 advantage on a free kick early after the break, but Sallies would knot it up again when junior forward Gavin Ford knocked in a loose ball in the 58th minute.
Coming off a nine-save performance against Charter, IR senior keeper Kevin Calles notched eight saves to keep Sallies off the board and send the game into overtime while playing a man-down, but a penalty kick from Sallies senior midfielder Jason Blackwell two minutes into overtime would ultimately decide the game.
The loss dropped the Indians to 12-3 on the season, as they prepare for the Golden Knights and appear well situated for a top-seed in the DIAA tournament.
The Knights were 12-2 with a game against Lake Forest left to go at Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
The two teams appeared evenly matched when they met earlier this season, with a Johan Cordoba goal on an assist from senior defender Andrew White in the 51st minute ending up the difference in a 1-0 game.
The Henlopen Conference Championship game is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 7, at Milford High School at 7 p.m. The first round of the DIAA tournament will begin the following day, on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
IR regular season stats:
Goals: Jo. Cordoba (17); O. Cruz (14); M. Mochiam (13); Ja. Cordoba (6); W. Gomez (6); M. Smith* (2); A. Salas (2); A. White (2); L. McCabe (1); J. Ramirez (1); K. Parazal (1)
Assists: Jo. Cordoba (17); M. Mochiam (7); O. Cruz (5); W. Gomez (4); A. Salas (4); M. Smith* (4); A. White (3); E. Velasquez (3); P. Mochiam (2); J. Linares (1); M. Guttierrez (1); J. Ortiz (1); J. Ramirez (1)
Saves: K. Calles (49); Z. Richard (28)