From the ninth minute to the 108th minute of the third golden-ball overtime on Wesley College’s rain-soaked field turf on Nov 7, No. 3 Indian River dominated its first-round state tournament game against No. 13 Tatnall.
They rallied behind Pierson Roenke’s unassisted goal midway through the first half to tie the game at one each, after allowing Tatnall to score the go-ahead goal in the eighth minute on a free-kick from Indian River’s left flank, just outside their penalty box.
Indian River controlled the pace of the game, ratcheting out more shots and scoring opportunities, but in the end Tatnall spoiled their effort to win the game 2-1 before the game could be sent to its fourth and final golden-ball period.
Tatnall’s Vikram Grewal split two Indian River defenders for a brief one-on-one attempt with goalie Sean Lewis, who came out of his line and stymied the first shot on goal. But Grewal recovered the loose ball and knocked it past Richard Webster in the vulnerable goal for the game-winner.
Indian River out shot Tatnall two to one (14:7) and even surpassed Tatnall’s total shots for the game in the overtime periods with nine shots, including four on goal. But he couldn’t find the back of the net to end the game.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Indian River senior captain Pierson Roenke said. “We did our best. I wouldn’t say we gave up [after falling behind] but with all those shots you’d expect [us] to score.”
Indian River not only out-shot Tatnall but they also held offensive possession a majority of the game, which resulted in an additional 10 corner kicks (12) compared to Tatnall’s two. Indian River had five corner kicks that yielded no goals on four header attempts in a two-minute span in the second half.
“Anybody who watched this game saw that we dominated the game, so it’s disappointing but we didn’t finish our chances,” Indian River head coach Steve Kilby said. “We had six corner kicks in a row and just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
“They [Tatnall’s defense] stayed as compact as possible and did a good job, which is kind of their style, but still we had four quality chances in the overtime period(s) and we drove it right at the keeper.”
Indian River fought hard to take the lead and even harder against the elements.
A number of Tatnall’s players succumbed to minor injuries and cramping throughout the game, especially in the overtime periods, and the team was forced to go deep into their bench while Indian River withstood the rigors and maintained their intensity.
“Our fitness is top-notch,” Kilby said. “We played 14 guys, and nobody asked out and nobody complained. But, unfortunately, this wasn’t just a loss, this was the last game for some of the seniors,” Kilby added. “There’s the finality of it all. Now we have to wait ’til next August to see what we can do about it.”
Indian River finished the season 14-3.