The varsity field hockey season has been a long one for the Lady Indians and first-year head coach Katie Holloway. They have struggled to record a single win as they move past the schedule’s midpoint, but a positive outlook and easygoing personalities have not made this season a regrettable one by any means.
This past Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Indian River hosted Cape Henlopen, which, in recent years, has proven to be a force in the Henlopen Conference. The Vikings continued their undefeated streak with an 8-0 win over the Lady Indians.
“Our girls are finally understanding that last season was last season and this one is a new one,” said Holloway. “The girls are really developing and coming together as a team as the year progresses. They are realizing you have to play the full game and then some.”
While the majority of the Lady Indians’ games this season have been shutouts, they have managed a number of goals against opponents.
“The few goals we have scored,” said Holloway, “have really helped our girls in terms of confidence. And even if we lost the game, they’re still playing better than the game before, and that helps, tremendously.”
Indian River continues their schedule this week as they travel to Laurel, then play host in their match-up the following week against two-time defending state champions Sussex Tech.
Despite a dismal, winless season so far, Holloway is hoping that the girls continue to keep their heads up and push through to the end.
“I know sometimes the score of our games doesn’t show it,” she said, “but there were many games where it could have gone either way. Our girls have fought through it and are really coming along.”
Holloway’s aim through the remainder of the season is to keep the team focused on the fundamentals of the game.
“I want our developmental skills to continue to get better,” she said. “We want to take that momentum into next season and continue to work on the basic skills of the game.”
Conditioning during the offseason is one of her priorities.
“We’ve got girls playing other sports to stay in shape,” she said. “Some of them are looking to play indoor hockey and in other leagues.”
Through it all, however, the girls are enjoying themselves, and that, she noted, is one of the most important things.
“I’m happy even coming home on the bus after a loss when the team is singing the whole way home,” she said. “There are some more things we need to fine-tune and keep consistent, but the girls are definitely coming a long way.”
Cape Henlopen has produced undefeated back-to-back seasons over the last two years, but their playoff run has been stopped short by Sussex Tech in the semifinals both times.
“Through the season,” said Cape head coach Nicole Catanzaro, “we stay focused on one game at a time. It’s a long season and a long pre-season before that. It’s all about making practices fun but still adjusting throughout the year.”
Playing at Indian River’s field, the Lady Vikings of Cape were forced to adjust from the turf field they are accustomed to at home.
“The surface here was going to be a tough thing to face,” said Catanzaro. “We’re used to a small game and turf, so [against Indian River], we knew we had to hit the ball and really work on that long game.”