The Indian River soccer program continues to excel as they sprinted past Worcester Prep 4-1 on Sept. 15 and shut out Milford 4-0 on Sept. 20 to increase their record to 4-0.
The Indians’ fast play, crisp passing and staunch defense have made for the series of wins lately.
Speedy striker Ben Gichner accounted for half of the Indians scoring over the past two games. His three-goal performance against Worcester Prep was critical against last year’s nemesis.
“The fact that Ben has played at this level for four years and has exceptional speed allows us to put the ball behind the defense,” said Head Coach Howard Gerkin. “It’s a matter of guys playing with and off of him — to realize there is space so he can score.”
Last year, Worcester Prep defeated Indian River 5-4 in overtime after leading 4-1.
“The boys on last year’s team had a score to settle and it didn’t feel good losing like we did last year,” said Gerken. “We had to play for 80 minutes and did.”
Gerken has a quiver full of speedy scorers and noted that any number of guys could step into that role on any particular night.
“We have a number of people with speed that can score,” said Gerken. “Ben, Martin Chavez, Pierson Roenke, Morgan Hunt, Dan Kleinstuber and Cameron Bowden can all score. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we score four, five or six goals a night.”
Indian River’s 4-0 win over Milford exemplified that point exactly as four different players scored. Ben Gichner drew first blood on an assist by Hunt. Chavez followed suit on Hunt’s second assist of the game. Roenke scored the third goal unassisted (he also scored the first goal in the Worcester Prep game) and Kleinstuber scored on a Peter Mais assist.
“The guys played well as a team,” said Gerken. “Four different guys scored and a couple got assists. I expected Milford to be in the middle of the pack for the conference and if we did a little better job finishing, we could’ve had six or seven goals.”
Gerken was very happy with the play of his offensive players but was particularly enamored with his defense’s performance.
“This is the first time in four games that the defense held together for the whole game,” said Gerken, referring to the win over Milford.
The Indians were without defender Andrew Cordell-Carey because of a red-card infraction in the game against Worcester Prep.
“I told my teammate to play the game instead of mouthing off to the guy across from him, and the referee kicked me out,” explained Cordell-Carey.
The suspension also kept Cordell-Carey out of the Sept. 16 football game against Stephen Decatur.
“Andrew played an outstanding game against Worcester Prep but we have some very fine soccer players and they wanted to step up,” said Gerken. “I thought they would do well but I didn’t expect them to pitch a shutout.”
Gerken moved Chavez to the central position and after a while he moved Luke Wingate there, where he did a good job.
Indian River hopes to keep the momentum going as they prepare to host Sussex Tech on Sept. 22 and Sussex Central on Sept. 27.
“It doesn’t matter who has a better win-loss record when you play either of these teams,” said Gerken. “They are always intense and hard-fought games.”