It took 80 minutes, two golden-goal over times, and seven shots after the game went down to penalty kicks. But the Indian River girls’ soccer team finally took down Tower Hill, 4-1, to advance to the DIAA semi-finals.
Coming off a bye in the first round of the tournament, the No. 1-seeded Indians were tested by the No. 8 Hillers early on.
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“It’s the tournament,” said IR head coach Steve Kilby after the game. “Everybody knows that, if you don’t win, you’re done. They were very well organized and very well coached, but they know what the finality is of this type of game. They weren’t just gonna come out here and lay down for us.”
Missed chances and stellar play from Tower Hill junior keeper Morgan Rollins played a large part in keeping the Indians off the board. However, after reaching the century mark on minutes, IR finally found the net.
Up first in the PK lineup, the Indians went with recent Gatorade Player of the Year recipient Brooke Beam, who had missed a chance just over the top left corner during stoppage time of the second OT. Beam would get some redemption when, without much thinking about it, she sent a casual shot to the bottom right corner, right past Rollins, who could only stand their frozen.
A read by sophomore goalkeeper Fabrea McCray kept the score 1-0 on the ensuing shot, with junior forward Maddie Hogsten lining up to make it 2-0 right after.
Sophomore midfielder Sammi Whelen answered after the Hillers managed their lone score, to make it 3-1. But after a Tower Hill miss wide-right, it was senior midfielder and recent All-State selection Aline Check-Guzman who got the chance to seal the deal.
“I usually always try and hit it in the left corner, usually on the ground,” Check-Guzman said of the shot that went high and left, eventually finding an outstretched glove and bouncing up into the net for the Indians’ fourth and final score.
“It was awesome — I can’t describe the feeling. I’m just so excited, because from the beginning of the season we’ve been talking about this, and now we’re actually doing it.”
The win earned the Indians a bid to the semifinals, where they’ll take on Delaware Military Academy on Wednesday, June 1, and try to get back to the state finals.
No. 5 DMA is coming off a quarter-final win in PKs as well, after a 2-1 upset over No. 4 Newark Charter.
Game time and location for that game has yet to be announced. Stay up to date with the Indians’ state tournament run by following @CPointSports on Twitter, @CoastalPointSports on Instagram, and www.facebook.com/coastalpointsports.
Update: The semi-final match against DMA is set for Wednesday, May 1, at Smyrna High School at 6 p.m.