With five different coaches in the past seven years, and not many more wins, the Indian River Field Hockey program hasn’t been taken seriously in more than a decade. They’ve been regarded as an easy win on the schedule by other teams throughout the league, have struggled to retain players and generate interest in the sport as a result of what had become a tradition of losing, and with no feeder program, showed no signs of turning things around.
However, after just two seasons at the helm, head coach Jodi Stone is establishing a new culture for Indian River Field Hockey. One with new expectations, new goals, and a whole new attitude. A culture where what has come to be known as “The Quiet Storm,” is starting to get louder.
“I called last year our foundation season,” said Stone of her first year with the team, where things began to change. “We really built a decent foundation last year and we really turned the corner.”
Both the Millsboro Middle School and Selbyville Middle School field hockey programs capped successful seasons last Thursday, as MMS scored a last minute goal off a corner to manage a 1-0 win against their district rival.
“We haven’t scored off of a corner ever,” said MMS coach Molly Chamberlin of what turned out to be the game winner. “Today they finally finished it.”
Nearing the end of the game, Millsboro’s Maille Ryan inserted a pass to Avery Congleton, who hit it back to Ryan before it was finally knocked in by Kelsey Kormanik.
“It was a text book play,” Millsboro coach Pattiva Cathell said of a play her squad has practiced all season.
“They were extra pumped today just because it’s a rivalry and last game of the season they wanted to go out with a win,” Chamberlin added of the growing rivalry.
More than 140 golfers turned out for the 15th Annual Jean & Joan Cancer Fund Golf Tournament held at Kings Creek Country Club Monday, Sept. 29, resulting in an additional $30,000 being raised to support cancer patient services at the Tunnell Cancer Center at Beebe Healthcare’s Rehoboth Beach Health Campus.
There’s been a lot of speculation this week as to why the Seattle Seahawks decided to trade wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets — much of it being based off of rumors, hunches and whatever else Adam Shefter says.
This year’s Indian River High School senior soccer players had never known a season without a Henlopen South title as they headed into the final home game of their high school careers on Monday, and they made sure they never would, with an 8-0 Senior Night shutout against Woodbridge.
“We’re sending a message,” said senior captain Danny Garza of the impressive title streak.
Fittingly, it was senior forward and captain Luis Cruz who scored the game’s first goal, on an assist from sophomore captain Mac Smith in the fourth minute.
Freshman Oscar Cruz would make it 2-0 in the 23rd minute, with a goal assisted by sophomore Mikie Mochiam, and sophomore Johan Cordoba would make it 4-0, with two goals in a row still in the first half. Cordoba was assisted by freshmen Edgardo Velasquez and Garza.
Suiting up to play at Indian River High School’s football stadium one last time, senior WR/HB/CB Kei Juan Major knew he had to make a play for the fans in his and the senior class’ final home stand against Seaford last Friday night.
“[The seniors were] hyped for this game, knowing it was the last time playing on this field,” said Major. “Had to do something spectacular for the fans.”
With the Indians already up 14-0 nearing the end of the first quarter, Major got his opportunity when he intercepted a pass and took it back 93 yards for a touchdown.
“The quarterback just lobbed it in the air,” he said of the play. “I had to run and go get it, and then I saw a hole wide open and I took it and scored.”
It’s that time of year again. And, no, I’m not talking about the time of year when the leaves start changing colors and the days start getting shorter. I’m talking about the time of year when sports pundits start breaking out references to former NFL Head Coach Jim Mora’s famous “Playoffs!?
Less than two minutes into last Friday night’s Henlopen South showdown, Indian River High School’s football stadium saw Woodbridge senior quarterback Logan Wescott live up to the All-State hype surrounding him when he capped off the opening drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass after moving the chains on the ground with ease.
The Indians’ defense woke up on the next drive, however, with senior defensive end DeAndre “D.D.” Cooper and sophomore linebacker Zion Howard each taking down the Blue Raiders’ dual-threat QB on scramble attempts in the backfield.
Sophomore linebackers Gianni Gottschalk and Zane Richard, and senior defensive tackle Spencer Sturla would also wrap him up behind the line on the next drive, but Wescott would manage a rushing TD before halftime, to give Woodbridge a 13-0 lead.
“It was more us than it was Woodbridge,” said IRHS head coach Ray Steele of the first half. “We made a lot of mental mistakes. We kept a drive alive for them twice.”
Sporting an 8-3 record and in the midst of one of their best seasons in years, the Lake Forest soccer team headed into last Thursday’s matchup at Indian River with hopes of a potential division title.
Those hopes soon dwindled, however, as the Indians came out firing with back-to-back goals from senior midfielder and captain Danny Garza within the first 10 minutes.
“Gardo had a nice lead, and [I] just placed it in the top corner,” said Garza of the goal that put his team up 2-0 early, on an assist from freshman Edgardo Velasquez.
Sophomore Arturo Salas would increase the lead to 3-0 after being set up by senior forward Luis Cruz before the half, while Mac Smith had been knocking on the door with near chances and a shot that hit the pipe that could have set the score even further out of reach.
Headed into Tuesday night’s division matchup at Seaford, the Lady Indians were working with a shallow bench.
“We were a little shorthanded, because we had three girls out sick,” explained head coach Jay Clark.
With only one varsity player on the bench to start the game, Clark had no choice but to use his whole varsity rotation when senior outside hitter and team captain Lili Cooney went down with what appeared to be a knee injury.
“When Lili went out, we had all of our varsity in there,” said Clark. “We are fortunate it doesn’t look like Lili Cooney’s injury is serious.”
Despite the limited rotation, the Lady Indians battled tough in what would turn out to be a five-set match that eventually ended in their third win on the season.
“Tough, exciting match,” Clark said. “Our girls hung in there and found a way to win. That’s something we’ve not done well enough this year and, fortunately, tonight we did.”
Sussex County’s most scenic trail run is back and set for Sunday, Nov. 2, with the proceeds from this year’s run going toward the First State Work Camp — an organization that helps repair houses for residents in need.
“People have been notified and asked to apply for this kind of help,” said event coordinator Bill Lord. “The money from the run will go toward that.”
Lord said the funds will be used for purchasing materials and building supplies for around 100 homes throughout Sussex County, and that he expects the Camp Barnes-based trail run should see similar numbers of participants as last year.
“I would suspect that we would be up there where we were last year,” he stated. “We expect a pretty good crowd.”
The race will again be run by Sea Shore Striders and feature a run/walk 5K and more throughout the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge.
Ocean Bowl Skate Park, located at 3rd Street and St. Louis Avenue, will host a Fall Skate Jam on Saturday, Oct. 18. The event will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Participants can enjoy free contests with prizes, as well as live music by the local band Funk Shue. Concessions will be available for sale.
Tripple Overtime: Maybe NCAA athletes should get paid, but Jameis Winston should stop being such an idiot
I was fully prepared to put something together on my buddy Phill’s top 10 favorite sports-related Halloween costumes for this week’s column. Then I heard Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston’s name on ESPN, which, obviously, could only mean one thing — he’s done something stupid again.
The Indian River High School soccer team may have looked relatively docile sporting pink socks for breast cancer awareness last Tuesday night, but two early goals from freshman midfielder Oscar Cruz buried the Golden Knights early on route to a 3-1 victory.
The district matchup had even further cause for rivalry, as Indian River head coach Steve Kilby faced off against his son Pat Kilby, the head coach for the Golden Knights.
Both first-half goals were created by senior captain Danny Garza, who set up the second goal after making his way through multiple Central defenders and notched two assists on the night.
“We started Danny out wide on the left, and it was very effective,” Kilby said of the game strategy.
The 2013 State Championship commemorative sign was unveiled at Indian River High School’s soccer stadium last Thursday, honoring last year’s history-making team.
The sign was funded entirely by Jeff Hudson, who wanted to honor the team’s achievement and knows just how major that accomplishment was.
“I knew it would mean a lot to them. State championships are few and far between, and it’s a big accomplishment,” explained Hudson. “Years and years ago, I won a state championship at Sussex Central, and it’s nice to see every time I go back, my name’s on the wall still.”
The sign displays the names of last year’s first-ever state championship soccer team at Indian River High School and was built by Indian River juniors Donovan Eckman and Virgil Bullis, who have also helped build several trophy cases at the school.
The Indian River High School volleyball team continued their struggles against non-conference opponents this week, falling to Dover 3-0 on Thursday, Oct. 9, and to Cape Henlopen 3-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
The Lady Indians were without senior captain and setter Taylor Bunting, who suffered a concussion the previous week.
“We’ve struggled with injuries this year,” said head coach Jay Clark after noting that the team also lost junior middle hitter Tiffany Rybicki to an ACL injury before the season began.
Down 8-1 in the first match, the Lady Indians rallied back within five after a shot by senior captain Lili Cooney made it 17-12. Indian River would then try to stay in the match after getting the point on a long rally, but ultimately Dover would take the match, 25-18.
A block by junior Eliza Bombhardt would give her squad a 3-2 start in the second match, as the two teams went back and forth, trading points. A Cooney ace made it 12-11 after the match was tied at 10 and saw another tie score at 16 before the Lady Senators pulled away en route to a 25-21 win.
They would go on to take the third match and lock in a victory.
Well-hidden among the cornfields and farmland along Gum Road in Roxana lies the nearly 45-acre, 10-field soccer complex that has become well-known as the River Soccer Club. However, the complex hasn’t always been capable of hosting 100-team tournaments, as it now does every Columbus Day weekend, and has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
“When we first started we were practicing at schools — any school that would let us go in there and practice,” recalled longtime board member Howard Gerken of the club’s early beginnings practicing at Selbyville Middle School and at John M. Clayton. “We put a field wherever we could find enough space to put a field.”
In the late 1990’s — a few years after the program got its start — the club began to grow.
“We had outgrown the facilities that we were using, so we were looking to find a permanent home,” said Gerken.
The Indian River High School football team was handed their second consecutive division loss last Friday night, after a second-half surge propelled Laurel (5-1, 2-0) to a 47-20 victory.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game went into halftime tied at 20, after junior running back KiAnté Sturgis ripped off a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter with the Indians down 20-13. Sturgis also managed a 30-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter and finished the day with 19 carries for 107 yards to go along with his two scores. He’s now rushed for 412 yards and five touchdowns on the season, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
The Indians’ first score of the game, however, came from sophomore RB/WR/DB George Martin, who punched in a three-yard touchdown — his first on the season.
The Bulldogs were led by senior running backs Chucky Auguste and Reggie Green, who rushed for 174 yards and 145 yards, respectively, as the Indians struggled to stop a rushing attack that accounted for 382 yards on the day.
Homecoming game set for Friday night
Don’t miss Indian River High School Homecoming this Friday night, when the Indians will face 3-3 Woodbridge in a Henlopen South matchup set for 7:30 p.m. at the Indian River High School football stadium.
Moore notches sixth TD for Seagulls in rout of Utica
Everyone knows Peyton Manning from his brilliant acting in Papa John’s pizza commercials, but what you may not know is that he’s also a pretty good quarterback.
After narrowly escaping Delmar with an unforeseen draw last week, the Indian River High School soccer team kicked it back into gear with an 8-0 division win against Laurel last Thursday and 7-0 romp of Smyrna on Monday, to improve to 5-4-1 on the season.
Over the past few games, the team has been without senior forward and captain Luis Cruz, but Cruz did see action against both Laurel and Smyrna.
The Indians posted their highest goal total since the first game of the season in their 8-0 win against Laurel last Thursday, Oct. 2, in a game that improved their division record to 3-0-1.
“We moved the ball well today. We tried to get one or two touch passing through the midfield. I take my hat off to Laurel. They show up every week,” said assistant coach Nick Slonin after the game.
With the first half of the season in the books, the Indian River High School football team finds themselves in the same position as last year, at 2-3 on the season and with a division loss to Lake Forest.
Unlike last season, however, the Spartans are undefeated, and they handed the Indians a 41-10 loss last Friday night, Oct. 3.
“We knew what we were getting into. We knew they’d come to play,” said head coach Ray Steele. “We didn’t tackle. We didn’t execute. We didn’t play well. And we didn’t come to play.”
The tone of the game was set early, when they Indians started with an offensive three-and-out and Lake followed with a six-play 67-yard touchdown drive to take an early lead.
Following another IR three-and-out, the Spartans would put together a four-play scoring drive, to increase their lead to 15-0.
For the past year and a half, Indian River head field hockey coach Jodi Stone has been talking about progress for the program, which prior to this season had only managed four wins in the previous four years.
However, after a 5-0 rout of Seaford last Thursday and a 2-1 overtime win against previously 5-3 Milford on Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Lady Indians find themselves already having tallied four wins on the season.
“It’s been a building process, and finally you see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Stone. “All of the hard work that these girls have endured is finally starting to pay off, and they’re starting to get their dividends.”
After the division wins, and a 1-0 loss at Worcester Prep last Friday, the Lady Indians were 4-6-1 on the season.
Following a season in which they collectively outscored their opponents 86-12 and won a Henlopen Conference title, it’s no surprise that last year’s Indian River High School girls’ soccer team produced six All-State selections — the most ever for the program.
“By far, this is the most we’ve ever had recognized at the All-State level,” said longtime head coach Steve Kilby of the achievement. “I think it has to do with the program. A lot of them have come up through the River Soccer Club and branched out to other clubs. Any team that has club players is going to be successful, and we’re fortunate to have those girls.”
Out of the six players honored, only two of them were seniors last season — midfielder Bri Belfiore, who notched the tying goal in the conference championship against Sussex Tech, and goalkeeper Alex Myers, who posted 12 shutouts during the regular season.
“I already miss it,” said Myers regarding a memorable 2014 season. “Their season hasn’t even started yet. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.”
The annual River Soccer Columbus Day Classic tournament returns to Roxana this weekend, as the club hopes for better weather than last year’s nearly rained-out event.
Cannon posts shutout against Shenandoah
Sam Cannon has worked his way back into the starting lineup for the Lynchburg College soccer team after an injury earlier this season. The former Indians keeper tallied five saves in a shutout against Shenandoah on Oct. 4. The Hornets were 6-4 on the season and 3-1 in the ODAC at Coastal Point press time on Wednesday.
An experienced Indian River High School cheerleading squad has been “bringing it on” all football season, behind the direction of first-year head coach Kaitlyn D’Onofrio.
“I think they’re doing really good. They’re trying a lot of new stunts, and we’re even doing some collegiate things,” said D’Onofrio of her squad. “We’ve been doing a lot harder stunts — more sequences where they’re doing more tricks than the stunts before they come down.”
D’Onofrio might be in her first year with Indian River, but she brings an extensive amount of cheerleading experience, having coached Pop Warner in previous years and cheering herself since she was 6.
With all of her experience, she said she appreciates her advanced squad.
“I don’t have any new girls. They all have cheerleading experience. But they’re all willing to learn new things, which is awesome. So it’s easy to teach them and train them,” she explained. “These girls are more advanced. I can just throw things out, and they can do it for me.”
In fact, the girls have performed so well this season that the squad is even considering entering some competitions.