Last season, the Delmar Lady Wildcats served Indian River’s varsity soccer team its only regular-season loss (2-1, in overtime). Indian River made the playoffs and beat Dover in the playoffs but lost to A.I. DuPont in the following game, leaving the Lady Indians with a respectable 14-2-1 final record and the Southern Henlopen Conference Championship.
Indian River lost a pair of games to Henlopen Champion Caesar Rodney and Middletown in its first three games but since has rallied to win the next four, including a 1-0 win over Dover on April 8.
Rather than striking hard at the heart of its opponent early, the Lady Indians let Delmar jump out to a quick 2-0 first-half lead in a 4-3 winning effort.
“They outplayed us,” said head coach Steve Kilby. “We stood around and watched for the first 20-25 minutes and when we finally decided to go forward — we scored goals but by then it was too late.”
Sophomore forward Michelle Giorgilli chipped a nice shot to score over Delmar keeper Sar Darmi at the 31st minute in the first half, cutting the lead to 2-1, but Delmar would counteract at the start of the second half.
Alicia Mills scored Delmar’s third goal (and fourth second-half goals) within three minutes of the second half, but Indian River would answer on great effort by senior midfielder Molly Chamberlin.
She displayed beautiful footwork, collecting a Giorgilli pass, then fought off two Delmar defenders and looped it past two more to pull the score within one goal, at 3-2. Marlena Schleifer headed in the Lady Indians third goal with three minutes left in the game but they would get no closer to the tie and another overtime game.
Giorgilli scored their first half goal and notched both second-half assists but just couldn’t make it happen every time. She put the ball in great space on three second-half corner kicks that yielded no goals. A fourth time, she nearly popped the ball over Darmi’s head on a closer scoring opportunity but it went too flat and hit the outside of the bar.
A 5-3 overall record at the midpoint of the season isn’t exactly what Kilby had in mind coming off a successful season last year. Now is the time that his players will have to decide what kind of year they want to have.
“They need to decide if they’re going to be a team that goes to playoffs and wins or is just happy to get there. We can’t come out and not play for 20 minutes against a team that wants to beat us,” he said.
The Lady Wildcats (5-1) lost a 3-2 game to Dover earlier this season, so this win over the Lady Indians marks its first over a team with playoff experience — one, head coach Linda Budd is glad her team preserved.
“A win over Indian River is huge,” Budd said. “Our girls have set some high goals and we’re on a mission to accomplish them. We were up two goals but Indian River loves to make it exciting. They have a lot of speed on the line and are very dangerous. They nearly scored a couple times in the second half but you have to give our girls credit — they were able to counteract and score. It was a nice way to finish.”
Indian River plays Seaford prior to publication and doesn’t play again till April 25 against Cape Henlopen.
Soccer Scores: Indian River beat Dover 1-0 on April 8; Schleifer scored two minutes into second half on Giorgilli assist. Goalie Bethany Beck had five saves. Indian River beats Sussex Central 5-0 on part of Chamberlin hat-trick (three goals) on two Giorgilli assists. Chamberlin assisted the Lady Indians other two goals to Giorgilli and Schleifer early in the second half.