IR girls aim to continue success on the soccer field

Coastal Point • File Photo : Graduated senior Maddie Hogsten, takes a mid-field header during a win over Sussex Tech last year.Coastal Point • File Photo : Graduated senior Maddie Hogsten, takes a mid-field header during a win over Sussex Tech last year.The five-time defending Henlopen Conference Southern Division champs are back and ready to add on to their recent string of dominance.

After a dominating 14-1 regular-season performance last year, the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team is hoping to continue the program’s success of the past several years. Among their 14 wins, 11 came by virtue of a shutout, with just three total goals allowed in the wins.

The goalie usually serving as the last line of defense in all those victories was Frabrea McCray. The senior is back in the goal this season and is again going to be heavily counted upon to lead the way defensively.

Fellow seniors Sammi Whelen and Bailey Singer will be joined by juniors Grace Engel, Mackenzie Gorey and Jordyn Hogsten. Sophomore Kayley Belzner is another key returning player for the Indians.

Veteran head coach Steve Kilby is the architect behind the Indians’ success since 2006. During that time, he has compiled a 161-46-1 overall record. He has led the Indians to the state playoffs in each of the past five seasons, including back-to-back state finals appearances in 2015 and 2016.

“I believe we need to bring all of our existing pieces together with our new parts to form a whole,” Kilby said. “If we can get everyone to buy into the system I would like to use this year, we can be a formidable group to contend with.”

Looking to help replace a talented trio of graduated seniors — Madison Hogsten (the team’s leading scorer last year), Maggie Ford and Paige Troublefield — are a quartet of freshmen that includes Izzy Binko, Anastasia Diakos, Micayala Meehan and Lauren Meehan.

The Indians will open their 2018 campaign on the road at Delaware Military Academy on Thursday, March 22. They will open their home schedule with three straight, starting Tuesday, March 27, against Polytech at 6 p.m.

Penalty Kicks: Two of the Indians’ three losses last year came against Caesar Rodney — in the second game of the season and then again in the Henlopen Conference championship game. Both were one-goal setbacks. The rematch will be played on Tuesday, April 17, at Caesar Rodney at 6 p.m.