41-0: IR soccer lashes Laurel for sixth consecutive shutout
After they rolled over Laurel 7-0 last Thursday and posted their sixth consecutive shutout, it’s hard to find an adjective powerful enough to express just how dominant the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team has been during that run.
In their last six games, the team has outscored their opponents by an astounding collective score of 41-0 — which is even more impressive considering that head coach Steve Kilby has consistently pulled starters and instructed his team to play possession after jumping out to a comfortable lead.
On more than one occasion, they’ve even taken senior goalkeeper Alex Myers out of the net and let her make a few runs on offense — all the while generating valuable game experience for younger players and non-starters.
Against Laurel last Thursday it was no different, with the game beginning as it so often has this season — with a quick score by sophomore forward Brooke Beam. Beam would add two more goals and an assist before Kilby decided to sit his most dangerous offensive weapon for the day, notching her second hat trick in the last three games and her 24th point of the season (17 goals, seven assists).
The team’s second-leading scorer (eight goals, five assists), freshman forward Maddie Hogsten, tacked on the second goal of the game just minutes later, with freshman midfielder Natalie Herrea getting her first career goal before the end of the half.
Junior defender Sarah Buchler and freshman defender Maggie Ford also added scores in the second half, with Buchler being assisted by junior midfielder Maria Papavasillis.
Despite the seemingly unstoppable way the Lady Indians performed in that game and the previous five, Kilby knows that his team hasn’t yet reached their full potential.
“We’re trending in the right direction. Things are going the right way, and the mojo is really positive. We’re diligently focusing on maintaining that,” he said. “I don’t think they’re overconfident — I don’t think they recognize their potential. I don’t think they understand the opportunity that they have. I think it plays into our overall team attitude and atmosphere right now.”
For a team composed heavily of freshman and sophomore starters, maintaining a level of maturity during their unprecedented winning streak hasn’t been an issue. In fact, Buchler asserted that her team knows that tougher games lie ahead, and they don’t plan on forgetting it.
“I think we know that we still have a lot of big games ahead,” Buchler said when asked if the team was overconfident going into the second half of the season. “I think just the fact that we keep working hard at practice, we keep doing what we’ve got to do, playing touches this year — a lot more possession this year than we have other years. It’s not always just score, score, score. It’s ‘How can we score in a better way than just someone dribbling down the field?’”
Buchler went on to describe the reason for their defensive dominance, mainly in comparison to last season.
“This year, we put four people in the back instead of three like last year,” she explained. “Just having two strong central defenders and then outside backs that will listen to us, it just really helps.”
One of those central defenders is Ford, who has meshed well with the starting lineup in her first year with the Lady Indians.
“I already knew a lot of girls that were already on the team from club ball and middle school,” she described of how she’s eased into her role at the next level. “I think our defense is a lot more experienced. We know we need to provide cover and offer back passes and things like that.”
The win streak has been put on hold until the girls face Dover (3-4) on Tuesday, April 29, in their second-to-last home game, at 7 p.m. — but they won’t be truly put to the test until the travel to Sussex Tech (7-1) on Thursday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m.