Indian River’s varsity soccer team took another couple of steps forward toward securing a second consecutive Henlopen championship by beating a pair of Henlopen North county foes — Sussex Tech, 2-1, and, most recently, Sussex Central, 4-0 on Sept. 26.
Indian River fell behind for the first time this season on a first-half goal in the Sussex Tech match, but that didn’t last long, according to Indian River’s assistant head coach Howard Gerken.
Senior midfielder Charlie Cole knocked the tying and game-winning goals, both in the first half, to give his team enough of an edge for the W, and his teammates kept up the intensity against Sussex Central.
The Indians midfielders were able to feed each other and get “great opportunities” (22 shots on goal) for three first-half goals. Senior Morgan Hunt scored the first two goals on his old team from “up top” and sophomore Cameron Travalini added the third goal on an assist from senior captain Pierson Roenke. Travalini also recorded a first assist to Hunt.
“The midfielders were finding them [Hunt and Travalini] wide open and they were able to get the ball to the goal,” Gerken said. “They were able to get one-on-one opportunities with the keeper and that doesn’t happen too often.
“We had a pretty flawless in the first half versus Sussex Central. And even though we scored only one goal in the late in the [second] half, we pretty much controlled the ball in the game,” Gerken added.
Sophomore forward Erwin Cordova scored Indian River’s fourth goal late in the second half on an Alex Castaneda assist, which proved to be an important insurance goal because Sussex Central kept coming despite a 4-0 disadvantage.
“Tech definitely tried to keep us from scoring,” Gerken said. “They packed it in [in the second half] and did a pretty nice job, but Sussex Central kept trying to score and played pretty well.”
Sussex Central fired 10 shots on goal at Indian River’s goalie, Torin Smith, but he stayed on his mark and made the plays that his coaching staff knows he can make.
Smith made five saves throughout the game, but there was one heady play in which he punched a ball over the goalpost that caught the attention of Gerken.
“Torin had a couple of very nice saves in the game,” Gerken said. “He made a nice play on high ball and, rather than try to catch it or knock it down [which might have caused a rebound shot], punched the ball over the goal post.”
Smith currently is covering for injured goalie Sean Lewis, who broke his foot during the River Soccer Club’s trip to Scotland this summer. Lewis is still on the mend but apparently Smith has earned the confidence of his coaches to remain in goal.
“He’s been working hard in the games and he’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Gerken said.
Indian River was set to continue its fight through the Henlopen Conference with an away match at Dover on Sept. 28 before heading back home to host Seaford on Oct. 3. Both matches were to begin at 7 p.m.