Fresh off their fifth consecutive win, including a 2-1 victory over the Lake Forest Lady Spartans varsity field hockey team, Indian River head coach Colleen Groszer felt that her team was playing outstanding hockey.
She’d seen her team make tremendous strides as a team since they dropped their first three games — to the point where her Lady Indians could fend off a talented Lake Forest team that recently lost to Cape Henlopen, 2-0.
But on Oct. 10 it appeared that Groszer’s Lady Indians had lost their focus — at least in the final two minutes of their match against the Sussex Central Lady Golden Knights. That, however, was before Molly Chamberlin poked in the game-winning walk-off goal in the seventh overtime minute to secure the 2-1 victory and the Lady Indians’ seventh straight win, taking them to 7-3 for the season.
Indian River controlled the entire game and finally felt comfortable behind Morgan Sheats second-half goal in the 14th minute. But Sussex Central’s attack sensed weakness late in the game and eventually tied the game on a Kristin Tomlinson goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
“Once we scored, I definitely thought we had it,” Jordan Warrington said. “We kind of let up and our defense didn’t get back” in time to stop Tomlinson’s one-one break with Indian River goalie Abi Buchler.
Indian River owned the most corner opportunities and held Sussex Central to only one more corner in the entire game than they had in the first half (9:10). Indian River added 15 more corner opportunities throughout the game, compared to only five more for Sussex Central. But most of the Lady Indians’ chances ended up hopping over awaiting sticks because of the bumpy field.
With the disparity of corner opportunities leaning far in favor of Indian River, the feeling was that sooner or later the Lady Indians would add more goals to their tally, or at least hold off Sussex Central in regulation.
“There is no reason to not come out and score more goals,” Groszer said. “Their goalie was good,” she added, paying the compliment to Central’s Amanda Cordrey, who had seven saves. “But we should’ve scored more. And the bottom line is that we didn’t play well as a team.”
While winning was the ultimate silver lining to the game, Groszer expressed frustration about not having all of her players giving 100 percent for the entire duration of the game.
“It’s beyond me why they’re only willing to put in 58 minutes and not the last two,” Groszer grumbled. “I’ve always been one to think, ‘Why not finish the game in 60 minutes instead of having to go to overtime?’”
“Obviously, it was great that we pulled it off, but we should’ve worked for the full 60 minutes,” Groszer said. “We let down at the most important time.”
Despite the Indians’ late-game let-down, Groszer credited Sheats’ and Warrington’s field awareness and hustle for the overtime win over their cross-town rival.
“Jordan anchored the midfield today. She never gave up,” Groszer said. “Morgan hustles and pressured the ball very well. Both girls play at 110 percent.”
In addition, Groszer credited her defense, led by captain Courtney Cooke, Molly Benner and recent defensive convert Jenna McKone, for allowing only three balls to enter Buchler’s domain.
Lady Indians head down a hard stretch
The Lady Indians will play seven games — six of which are conference games — over the next 16 playable days to finish their regular-season schedule. And starting Oct. 16, the Lady Indians will play five games in 10 days before rounding out the month of October with a conference match against Woodbridge.
So far, at 7-3, the Indians are riding high. But to continue their pace, Groszer pointed out, her team will have to do some things better. She cited that her offense has been playing too clumped together in the middle, and her scorers aren’t in proper position in respect to the goal on corners and will have to improve their defensive transition.
“These are all things that we’ll have to do in practice,” Groszer said. “I don’t have any doubts about my players’ abilities, but its something that we’re going to have to practice and practice it well.”