It was all about the harmony when the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team took on Dover on Saturday, April 23.
Just minutes after hitting all the right notes and singing the national anthem to start the game, senior forward Emma Engel was hitting the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season.
“I like to sing and play the guitar and everything, so I wasn’t really nervous,” said Engel, who recently performed in the IRHS variety show. “I noticed that [Dover wasn’t] super-strong in the back, so I was ready to capitalize on that. I just kind of stepped into it, got control and placed it into the net.”
The on-field harmony continued when senior midfielder Brooke Beam sent a through ball to junior forward Maddie Hogsten, who skipped a shot past the keeper to make it 2-0 in the 10th minute.
Beam would score from inside the box in the 19th minute, before getting a pass from freshman Jordyn Hogsten after a broken-up clear and getting forward on multiple defenders, for a one-on-one chance with the keeper and finishing, to put the Indians up 4-0 in the 30th minute.
The seasoned senior would get past the Dover “D” for another score just before the break, but after a controversial yellow card left the Indians without a keeper, it was sophomore midfielder Sammi Whelen who kept the Senators off the board, to keep a clean first-half sheet.
“I thought [Coach Kilby] was just subbing me in as a player. Then I ran onto the field and they told me to grab the pinnie,” she explained of her debut between the pipes.
Going up against Dover senior ringer Kathryn Ford on a PK, Whelen came through for her squad, knocking down a hard-line shot and being immediately swarmed by open-armed teammates.
“[Ford] is a good player. I play travel with her. I just hit it. I just tried to dive on the ground. I was actually gonna go the other way, but then I saw it go that way,” Whelen explained, pointing to her right. “It was weird. I couldn’t believe that I actually just did it. We always say we have each other’s back. We really do.”
Ford would go on to tally two second-half scores, and Beam would knock in her fourth from well outside the box as the Indians looked to filter in some younger players and dial back the offensive attack, to end the game and improve to 7-0 on the season.
IR game stats vs. Dover:
Goals: B. Beam (4), E. Engel (1), M. Hogsten (1)
Assists: E. Engel (1), J. Hogsten (1)
Saves: F. McCray (3), S. Whelen (1)
Indians 3, Smyrna 0
On Tuesday, April 26, the Indians kept their record intact with a 3-0 road win over Smyrna (5-3).
Senior forward Emma-Lee Merrick got the scoring started with her first goal of the season, on a ball from Beam in the 19th minute that put IR up 1-0.
That’s how the first half would end, and it would remain the score until half No. 2, when Beam managed a goal in the 48th minute — the 96th of her career. Maddie Hogsten would add an insurance goal on an assist from senior forward Isabella Keith in the 59th, and sophomore keeper Fabrea McCray kept the Eagles off the board with two saves on the day.
The win put the Indians at 8-0 for the first time in program history. Beam has a chance to make school history as well, with only four goals left to go to become the first player at Indian River to reach 100 career goals.
According to head coach Steve Kilby, however, while the individual achievement would, of course, be a milestone, the team’s focus remains on their ultimate goal.
“When I think about how many times we’ve shut her down, maybe she could have had this quite a while ago,” Kilby said, noting that the team often plays possession in the second half, after establishing a comfortable lead, in the name of sportsmanship. “That’s an accomplishment for anybody, but never once has she made the number of goals that she scores a priority.”
Beam would get her chance at 100 when the Indians got their chance at 9-0, heading to Laurel (2-6) on Thursday, April 28, (after Coastal Point press time). That game was to get under way at 4 p.m.
IR Game Stats vs. Smyrna:
Goals: B. Beam (1), M. Hogsten (1), E. Merrick (1)
Assists: B. Beam (1), M. Hogsten (1), I. Keith (1)
Saves: F. McCray (2)