The Indian River boys’ varsity soccer team won its first two games to put the team in prime position to make a strong run at the Henlopen Conference.
Two wins and having the opportunity to play all your players is an early season victory, according to Head Coach Howard Gerken.
“Everybody got in on the action and we were able to get everybody significant playing time,” said Gerken.
In addition to playing his entire team, Gerken was particularly pleased with the play of a number of his starters.
Daniel Kleinstuber scored Indian River’s first goal of the season about six minutes into the first half, which gave them a 1-0 advantage heading into the second half.
The second half moved at a quicker pace and the Indians were able to tack on three more goals, to give them the 4-1 victory over Newark.
Ben Gichner scored two goals (:31 and 48:08, respectively) in the second half on assists from Martin Chavez and Pierson Roenke. Chavez scored the final goal of the game on a nice assist from freshman Peter Mais.
Mais put the ball through the defense to a streaking Chavez and he was able to capitalize on the one-on-one match-up for the goal.
“Martin chipped a nice shot over the goalkeeper’s head,” said Gerken. “I’d like to think that there aren’t too many goalkeepers that can stay with him one-on-one.”
Gerken noted that Newark kept Chavez in check for most of the game but others stepped up to produce.
“Teams will have to come up with defensive schemes to shut down Martin, and other guys will have to step up,” said Gerken.
Indian River’s second game moved along easier and with more scoring. The Indians scorched Woodbridge 7-1, topped off by a Tommy Reichart penalty kick.
Indian River scored four goals in the first half and Morgan Hunt earned two of those on headers with assists from Chavez and Roenke (three minutes in and 15:17, respectively). Gichner scored the third goal (16:17) on a pass from Mais and he earned an assist on a Roenke goal at 18 minutes in.
Roenke scored the fifth and sixth goals of the game, the sixth coming on a corner kick from Hunt. The corner kick was redirected on a header by Chavez, to a waiting Roenke for the score.
“It just kind of developed,” said Gerken. “Morgan put the ball where he wanted to and Martin delivered the pass to the open teammate.”
“It was more deliberate than an accident,” said Gerken.
Indian River was set to try to keep the momentum going this week in taking on Worcester Prep at home on Sept. 15. Indian River gave up a three point lead to Worcester Prep last year, only to lose in overtime. Worcester Prep earned undefeated honors last year and Indian River will have to play a full game of soccer to get the win this season.
“I think we’ve played well so far but we haven’t played a full 80 minutes of soccer,” explained Gerken. “We came in a little cocky against Worcester Prep last year and they came back from 4-1 to tie the game in regulation and won it in overtime.”
Despite that loss, “They hustled and played hard as a team,” said Gerken of his own players. “I don’t expect any less of them this season.”
Indian River will host Worcester Prep on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. and Milford on Sept 20 at 5:30 p.m.