Caesar Rodney’s field hockey team hadn’t given up a goal all season until they met Indian River on Oct. 19. Caesar Rodney jumped out to a 3-0 first-half lead but the Lady Indians fought back to tarnish the Lady Riders shutout record and popped one in the goalie’s box.
“You have to give Indian River credit — they didn’t give up even though they were down three goals,” said Caesar Rodney Head Coach Debbie Windett. “A lot of teams would’ve quit.”
Indian River Head Coach Pativa McKean echoed those same sentiments, despite getting a little emotional in the first half.
“I’m not disappointed in their performance at all,” said McKean of her Lady Indians players. “They played very well in the second half.”
“We had some confusion marking up, and Caesar Rodney’s first two goals happened because we didn’t mark up in the zone — we were marking up on who they covered earlier in the game.”
Indian River had trouble scoring in the first half because Caesar Rodney played off the ball handler until they reached the 25-yard line — then they would converge.
Caesar Rodney had a lot of speed and was able to effectively spread the field and make Indian River chase.
“Our girls have great speed and good vision, and that enabled us to spread the field to get two-on-one situations. And anytime you have numbers you should win,” said Windett.
“This is something we practiced this week,” said McKean. “We practiced changing fields quickly, so we were prepared. But I think we were a little intimidated.”
Caesar Rodney was able to run fast, but Indian River was able to run the longest because, with about three minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Indians mounted their comeback. If there were any signs of intimidation, they were nowhere in sight in the second half.
Shawnee Seitz scored a goal on a Jordan Warrington assist, but the Lady Indians marched right back. They stole the ball and Jordan Warrington slapped a shot on Caesar Rodney’s goal that went in but was negated because she was outside the circle.
“We came alive after our first goal. Unfortunately, we ran out of time,” said McKean.
Following Warrington’s called-off goal, Indian River eagerly tried to get the ball back in play but a golden retriever dog kept interfering with the game. He’d pop out every once in a while to play and at the most crucial moment he grabbed the ball and wouldn’t give it up.
The game ended with Indian River trying to pry a slobbering ball from a neighbor’s dog, but McKean was confident that if they beat Woodbridge on Oct. 22, then they would have a good shot at the state tournament.
“If we get Caesar Rodney in the state tournament, you’ll see a different game,” said McKean. “They are very beatable. They may be fast, but they don’t have the stick skills we do or our endurance.”
Indian River (6-4-1) beat Caravel 3-2 on Oct. 17 and will stay on the road for the next three games, against Dover (Oct. 25), Seaford (Oct. 27) and Smyrna (Oct. 31). The Dover and Seaford game start at 4 p.m. and the Smyrna game starts at 3:30 p.m.