IR field hockey slips in first round of state tourney

The ladies of the Indian River field hockey team were definitely the underdogs going into the state tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 8, against the undefeated Vikings of Cape Henlopen. And history seemed to repeat itself as the Indians fell 0-1, bringing their season to an early close.
Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: Courtney Cooke helps her goalie defend the goal against a Cape player in Wednesday’s 0-1 loss.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT:
Courtney Cooke helps her goalie defend the goal against a Cape player in Wednesday’s 0-1 loss.

The 16th-seeded Indians’ loss in the first round of the state tournament mirrored last year’s abrupt end against top-ranked Tower Hill, also with a final score of 0-1. Tower Hill went on to clench the 2005 Delaware State Field Hockey Championship.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the team,” said Indian River head coach Colleen Groszer, following the defeat at Henlopen. “The girls worked so hard, and they wanted this so bad. It’s always tough to be in the playoffs and lose.”

The teams came out with intensity, swapping hasty passes and ambitious runs. The Vikings persisted with drive after anxious drive, recording nine corners in the second half alone. The Indians were able to hold the 16-0-0 Cape Henlopen team at a 0-0 deadlock, until Amanda Deloy’s shot from a corner found its way into the goal with only six minutes left in the game.

“We did a really great job marking up, playing as a team today,” said Groszer. “They played with more heart than I could have asked for. It’s probably one of the best games we had all season. They really worked well together.”

The Lady Indians’ defense held out strong, with crucial stops from Molly Benner and senior Courtney Cooke. Seniors Shawnee Seitz and Sarah Benner added powerful surges for the Lady Indians’ offense. “Everyone on the field today played with so much intensity,” said Groszer.

“It’s incredible for the girls to play like they did today,” said Groszer. The team also fell to Cape Henlopen early in the season, 0-5. “They’ve come a long way for a young team this season and I’m very proud of them.”

With Wednesday’s win, Cape Henlopen will advance to the second round of the state tournament, facing on Saturday, Nov. 11, the winner of Wednesday’s Caesar Rodney (12-3-1) and Brandywine (13-2-1) game, which was completed after Coastal Point press time.

“I’m really looking forward to next season,” said Groszer. “There’s so many great things going on. But of course, you really want it for the seniors out there now.”

“It’s been a tough season, some tough losses in the beginning,” said an emotional Groszer, “but the past couple of days at practice, they’ve been on such a high. I don’t want them to hang their heads. We played a heck of a game.”