Two games into her Indian River varsity head-coaching debut, field hockey coach Colleen Groszer is at a loss — actually two losses. Indian River’s offense clumped together in a 2-0 season opening loss to Tatnall and then was unable to muster much of an attack until the last 15 minutes of an eventual 2-1 loss to Milford on Sept. 12.
“Right now we’re not playing as a team,” Groszer said. “We’re not communicating and we’re not playing our passing game.”
Groszer expected her players to come out firing after an “awesome Monday practice” but instead they reverted back to a muddled offensive position.
“It’s a really hard thing to teach or coach [maintaining a spread-out offense] because the other sides starts to creep over [when the ball is on the other side of the field],” Milford head coach Bonnie Simon said. “They have to realize that space is a good thing.
“What’s frustrating is that they polish it in practice but when they get out on the field something else is going on,” Groszer continued. “Why it’s not spilling over onto the field is beyond me.”
Simon wasn’t pleased with her girls’ play in the first three minutes so she called timeout, gave them a fiery go-get-’em speech and had them respond.
“We were a little sloppy, but after the first 10 minutes we started to come around,” Simon said.
Indian River’s Courtney Cooke scooped a Molly Chamberlin rebound in the 20th minute for their first goal. But Milford worked the ball around to spread the field and by the last tick of the first half clock, they’d taken a 2-1 lead on a Stacey Giles goal.
Giles is a defensive player by trade but Simon admitted her players still aren’t in “game shape” and said having four asthmatic players forced her into plugging other players into new positions.
“These girls are willing to do what it takes,” Simon said. “Stacey [Giles] is one of our defensive players, but I told her that I needed her to drive something near the goal.”
Milford had seven offensive opportunities, compared to Indian River’s three, in the first half because they were able to spread the field. Long, crisp passes wasted little time or player momentum and often led Milford’s attackers with Indian River trying to recover.
Indian River had a much better second half (eight scoring opportunities, compared to Milford’s four) — especially in the last 10 minutes of play — but Milford was able to hold on.
“We weren’t in position and let crosses go right across the cage,” Groszer said.
“Right now we have to figure out what we want for this season,” Groszer said. “I know they can do it. They work too hard to give it away in the game.”
“It’s still early, and right now we have a week to work the kinks out,” she concluded.
Indian River (0-2) will travel to Cape Henlopen on Sept. 19 for a 4 p.m game.