The strong, driving weather associated with Hurricane Wilma and a rampaging nor’easter couldn’t edge out Indian River’s varsity field hockey team in their 2-1 victory against Milford on Oct. 25, but it sure did put them in a tight spot coming down the stretch towards the state tournament.
Indian River has to have played 15 games by Nov. 3 to qualify for the state tournament, and at 7-4-1, the Lady Indians will have a jammed packed schedule in the upcoming week due to the inclement weather.
Poor field conditions and heavy rain and wind made it difficult for the ill-equipped Lady Indians to score, but Shawnee Seitz was able to get Molly Chamberlin and Jordan Warrington the ball at just the right times for goals.
“We thought the game would get called because of the weather, for which most of the girls weren’t prepared,” said Head Coach Pativa McKean. “They were freezing and the wind was unbelievable, especially for the goalies. Leaves were blowing into the game.
“What’s ironic is that our game with Milford was originally rescheduled because they didn’t feel safe on our field and their field was in such poor condition that we had to play at the middle school,” McKean added.
]Indian River was set to play five games over six consecutive school days this week, starting with a postponed Oct. 25 match at Dover that was rescheduled for the following day and a tough game against Seaford on Oct. 27.
The Lady Indians keep on like a rolling stone from there and play at Smyrna (Oct. 31) but return home to face Woodbridge (Nov. 1) and St. Thomas More (Nov. 2) and round out their regular-season play.
Indian River is currently fighting with Seaford for the second-place spot in the Southern Henlopen Conference, behind 12-1 Delmar. McKean hopes that the toughness her team displayed in the Milford game will carry over into their final stretch and earn them respect, revenge and a prime position in the state tournament.
She remembers chasing Seaford for the second spot two years ago which they lost by one game and suffering a “humiliating” loss to Dover last year so Indian River has their hands full as they proceed.
“Seaford is always a physical game, which isn’t really our style,” said McKean. “The girls are mentally and physically prepared, which is good because we need to come out of here with a win.”
“The weather was so insane against Milford and even though we were up 2-0 in the first half, I could see they were playing just to get to the end of the game,” said McKean. “About 10 minutes into the second half Milford scored, and we started losing our composure quickly but did enough to win the game.
“We were inconsistent last year, which is why we lost to Dover after leading 3-0 in the first half. But this year we are emphasizing to play as one and play together,” she added. “Hopefully, the girls can keep it together so we can earn a better seed in the state tournament.”
Last year, Dover’s players carried on in dramatic fashion — stomping on Indian feathers — and since they didn’t lose many players to graduation, the Lady Indians face virtually the same team. Vengeance will be sweet if Indian River can unseat Dover after their celebratory shenanigans following the miraculous come-from-behind win last year — especially if they can return the favor in the form of a victory.
Smyrna is their last away game (Oct. 31), and one that doesn’t figure to be an easy contest according to McKean.
“Smyrna is a similar team to us,” said McKean. “They’re tough, fast and improved.”
All of Indian River’s final three games — at Smryna, Woodbridge and St. Thomas More — will start at 3:30 p.m.