Both Indian River and Caravel Academy’s varsity field hockey teams, in an effort to establish their young, up-and-coming programs, have been seeking this season to turn the corner. Caravel, which picked up two early victories this season, on Monday visited a struggling Indian River team still searching for their first win of the year, in a rescheduled rained-out game. The Lady Buccaneers finished strong despite IR’s early lead, denying the Lady Indians a win with a final score of 3-1 this past Monday, Oct. 11.
Tiffany Roughton sent a shot to the back of the cage off of an assist from fellow senior Chelseas Zweigle in the first six minutes of the game. But Caravel wasted no time on a response, as sophomore captain Heather Wiley evened the scoreboard moments later. She returned after halftime and collected her second goal of the game off of an assist from Kathryn Hughes, nudging Caravel ahead. Forward Hannah Oybkhan sealed the win with a late Buccaneers goal, courtesy of midfielder Alexis Krapf, picking up the team’s fourth win of the season.
“This was a very important game for us,” noted Caravel Academy’s head coach, Susan Wiley. “Our record had dropped to 3-5 last week, and we have been working on getting back to .500 and going on from there.”
Last year, Caravel finished just above a level record, ending the schedule 8-7, and edged Indian River at the season’s midpoint, 1-0. Teamwork and communication came together for the Lady Bucs.
“We’ve got a big game against Padua this week,” Susan Wiley added, “and we need this momentum to help us build on the remainder of the season. Heather [Wiley] really came through for us with her two goals. She’s a strong leader, and that’s a great quality to have in a sophomore.”
This spring, the Buccaneers will graduate only two seniors from the team, with plenty of promise for a developing team to return next season.
“We’re a young team,” acknowledged Wiley, “and with these remaining games on the schedule, it can be a whole different kind of game. You never know who’s going to show up or what kind of frame of mind your team’s going to be in. But with most of the girls returning, we’re trying to establish that teamwork.”
Throughout the remainder of the month, Caravel will play their games at home, on a turf field, a contrast with the numerous grass fields they play on while on the road.
“We get plenty of practice on grass, though,” said Wiley. “We can prepare for whatever kind of field we’re going to see, and occasionally, we get some turf practices. Playing at home gives us a little bit of an advantage but not a whole lot.”
The Lady Indians, now 0-7-3, hope to finish strong, despite the season reaching its halfway point with the team still winless.
“We haven’t rolled over and played dead,” said first-year head coach Cheryl Carey. “Our girls have progressed since the start, and I take great pride in their effort. They don’t quit, and that’s what we need from them.”
Although the Lady Indians boast a more veteran roster than Caravel Academy, there are still plenty of freshmen, sophomores and juniors who will be returning next year.
“For the remainder of the schedule,” said Carey, “I want to keep the enthusiasm up. We can’t dwell on today. We need to play our best. At this point, we’re working on building the program for next year. A lot of these girls have the heart and desire that I’ve seen in a lot of the games earlier this year. I know they have it. They just have to bring that to every game.”
The Lady Indians have managed three ties – most recently, a 1-1 draw against Laurel this past Thursday, Oct. 7. They will find themselves on the road through next week, facing Polytech on Tuesday, Oct. 19, then travel to Lake Forest on Thursday, Oct. 21 They will round out the remainder of their schedule the following week, with Sussex Central and Smyrna at home.