As summer approaches and the school year winds down, it isn’t uncommon for students to do the same. Thoughts of warm weather, sandy beaches or new freedoms on the horizon dance through their heads. But that can’t be said of the Indian River girls soccer team — or at least, if it could be, they’re not showing it.
The Lady Indians soccer team blew past Polytech 4-1 on May 4 and Smyrna 6-0 on May 9 for their fifth consecutive win, bumping their overall record up to 10-3.
Assistant head coach Howard Gerken mentioned that these two games marked an important benchmark for the Lady Indians as they head into the last stretch of the regular season and the Henlopen Conference tournament.
“The last two games, the ladies have been working very well together, and you can’t start to see what Coach Kilby has been working with them on,” he said. “We’ve worked as a team, like we’re supposed to do.”
Gerkin noted that the Lady Indians successfully executed approximately 20 back passes against the Lady Bulldogs, which enabled them to open up the field for each of their six goals.
“Back passes is something we’ve been working on all year and it was good they were able to take advantage of a tactical thing,” Gerken continued. “We had nice ball movement and we had people running off the ball, where in the past we would stand still and wait for the ball.”
Forward Molly Chamberlin tallied a hat-trick, scoring Indian River’s first three goals, while midfielders Ellen Dupont, Ali Ambrose and Michelle Giorgilli tacked on additional scores.
Goals came with very little resistance due to smart play — but also because of Smyrna’s brand spanking new field, according to Gerken.
“They really showed what they could do on a nice field,” he said. “They loved to play on it because they didn’t have to worry about bad bounces at the last minute. In my opinion, it’s currently the best field in Delaware — or at least high school fields.”
The Lady Indians will play Laurel in their conference finale on May 11 before playing upstate Caravel (4-7) and Tower Hill (2-9).
Gerken mentioned it would’ve been nice to have some tougher competition heading into the state tournament.
“Unfortunately, we’re not playing really strong teams heading into the state tournament,” Gerken said. “They (Caravel) haven’t done that well and haven’t scored many goals, but their losses are to up-state teams, and overall their teams are stronger than the Henlopen Conference.”
Caravel didn’t score any goals in five losses and only scored one goal in four games. (They tied one and won one). Caravel beat Tower Hill 1-0 on April 8. Tower Hill lost to Caesar Rodney 6-0 on May 1.
Indian River will host Caravel on May 12 for an 11:30 game and travel up to DeGroat field to play Tower Hill on May 16.
Soccer program set for special kids ages 7-14
This September, Roxana’s River Soccer Club will offer a TOPSoccer program for kids with cognitive or physical disabilities (or both) ages 7-14.
“TOPSoccer will provide the kids an opportunity to be on a team and part of an organized sport,” said River Soccer board member Howard Gerken.
Practices will be a combination of skill training and small-sided games but the emphasis is on “having fun with soccer.” TOPSoccer will begin Sept. 9 and run to Nov. 4, though there will be no Oct. 14 session. Each session runs from noon to 1 p.m. and each participant will receive a team T-shirt and a soccer ball. River Soccer will provide all other training equipment, though players should provide their own shin guards and soccer socks. The registration fee is $20.
In addition, River Soccer is also looking for team buddies to work with the participants, as needed, in the TOPSoccer program. Soccer experience is a plus but isn’t necessary, though there will be a mandatory two-hour training session prior to the first session on Sept. 9.