It was a night of several firsts on Tuesday evening at the Indian River High School soccer complex behind John M. Clayton Elementary School.
It was the first game of the season for both IR and visiting Polytech. It was the first varsity game for several Indians. It was also the first time the Panthers had ever beaten the Indians in girls’ soccer.
An overtime goal by Paxton McGinnity in the 82nd minute in extra time gave Polytech the win. It happened to be the Panthers’ lone shot of the entire game.
“We outshot them 12-1,” said veteran IR coach Steve Kilby. “We controlled the ball most of the game. It’s unfortunate for us. Their goalie made like eight saves, and three or four of them were just great saves.”
Panther goalie Alyssa-Lynn Brown definitely made some very nice saves on several Indian shots to keep the locals off the scoreboard the entire game.
IR had quite a few chances to get on the board in the first half, with a handful of corner-kick opportunities, but just couldn’t get the biscuit in the basket.
“We had balls there with no pressure,” Kilby assessed. “You have to pressure the ball. We have some young pieces that are trying to understand the way they need to play. We need to improve in the attacking stage of our game.”
With just three seniors on the roster, the Indians have plenty of underclassmen playing significant roles on the team. Six of the underclassmen are freshmen, while another three are sophomores.
IR goalie Fabrea McCray was unchallenged all night. The one shot she faced was simply perfectly placed, and she had no chance to make a save on the ball.
In the box: With nothing currently scheduled for the team until April 12, the Indians will have plenty of time to work out the kinks offensively. IR lost a game early in last year’s campaign before rattling off 13 straight wins, which included 10 shutouts. Those efforts led the team to the South Division championship and a berth in the state playoffs.