The No. 10 Indian River girls’ varsity soccer team hasn’t budged from the state rankings since their arrival some weeks ago, despite dominant play, game-in and game-out.
The Lady Indians eked out two victories since April 28 – beating St. Thomas More 1-0 with only a few minutes remaining in regulation and edging out Dover in overtime 2-1 on May 3.
The goal allowed against Dover is only the second allowed the entire season by sophomore goalkeeper Bethany Beck. The remaining goal was given up in the tie to No. 9 Caesar Rodney on April 7.
“St. Thomas had some very talented players,” said Head Coach Howard Gerken. “Up top, they had players who could go to the net to score. They had more shots on goal than us, but Bethany made two great saves for us and took one for the team.
“In the first half, there was a scramble for the ball right in front of the net and she dove on top of it,” he explained. “In the second half, she made a nice slide save but (she) got kicked in the process, as well as the ball. The referee awarded us the ball so that was a key possession,” he noted.
With their team’s goal a virtual fortress, the Lady Indians’ offense had to score just enough to get the win.
The opportunity came as a quick inbounds pass was thrown into sophomore striker Molly Chamberlin. She directed a chop shot over the misplaced goalkeeper for the lone score and the victory.
After the uplifting victory over St. Thomas, the Lady Indians traveled to Dover to test their metal against a Northern Henlopen Conference team.
Legend says lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but in the case of Indian River and their freshman defender Marlena Schliefer, that doesn’t hold true.
Schliefer headed in two Michelle Giorgilli corner kicks to push past Dover in overtime.
“Both of Marlena’s goals were pretty much the same, but to head in a kick is rare for us,” said Gerken, who explained that most of goals made in soccer are a result of set plays like corner kicks.
Solid play in the goal, combined with capitalizing on scoring opportunities, has put the Lady Indians in good position for the post-season as the regular season winds down.
At 9-0-1, the Lady Indians appear to be a shoe-in for Southern Henlopen but winning the conference doesn’t ensure a place in the state tournament.
“Post-season rankings are calculated by averaging the wins and losses of both our record and opponents, to see where we are seeded,” explained Gerken.
The top 16 teams will play in the state tournament with the No. 1 seed first playing the No. 16 seed, and so on.
The Lady Indians will travel to Caravel on May 9, and to Polytech on May 10. They will host Laurel on May 13 in the third of Indian River’s last five regular-season games.