Lady Indians pounce on Panthers in soccer season opener
A talented freshman and sophomore class was on display last Tuesday, March 24, as underclassmen lead the way in the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team’s season-opener, taking down Henlopen North foe Polytech 4-3.
The Lady Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead to start the game, but sophomore forward and 2013 All-State selection Brooke Beam answered the call before the end of the first half, scoring off the assist from freshman forward Maddie Hogsten.
Beam returned the favor to start the second half, setting up Hogsten for a goal of her own, to put the Lady Indians up 2-1 at the beginning of the second half. The sophomore star added another assist in the 58th minute, setting up junior midfielder Maria Papavasillis in front of the net, floating one just over the head of Polytech keeper Amanda Deputy, to make it 3-1.
After Hogsten notched her second goal of the game, to make it 4-1, off an assist from junior defender Marissa Fox, head coach Steve Kilby decided to let some of his less-experienced players close out regulation. However, after sitting through most of the game, withstanding frigid temperatures, the girls struggled to warm up, allowing Polytech to cut the lead to 4-2 in the 73rd minute, and eventually make it a one-goal game in the 78th minute.
Kilby’s squad held tough to eventually notch the win and start the season 1-0, but the final score was closer than he would have liked.
“That’s my fault. I went too deep on the bench with players that probably weren’t prepared yet,” he said, explaining the late Polytech comeback. “We beat them last year 3-2. Today, we let them back in the game, and that was a coaching error.”
Senior captain Meredith Mitchell had her own reasoning for how the Lady Indians had let the Lady Panthers back in the game, noting that the girls may have let their guard down after going up by three goals.
“By the end of it, we didn’t have our heads in it,” she explained. “We weren’t meshing like we were before.”
Senior goalkeeper Alex Myers, who notched four saves in the game, shared Mitchell’s theory, and noted that coming off the bench after sitting in the cold all game certainly didn’t help. “As the goalie, you kind of just stand back and you’re not really running around. It gets cold.”
Despite the ending of the game, Kilby said he was very impressed with the talent of the freshman class, citing a few of the standouts specifically, and maintained that a state championship is the team’s ultimate goal.
“Maddie Hogsden is a real special player. She sees the field well,” he said of the freshman’s two-goal performance. “Very talented on the ball, she can distribute. We’ll probably roll her through a distribution role in the midfield as the year goes on. Maggie Ford, who played as a center back, was outstanding, very solid player. [Paige] Troublefield played as an outside back and did a really nice job for us also.
“I think this is our deepest team that we’ve ever had. With the D1/D2 championships, this group needs to recognize they have an opportunity to have a run at that.”
Both Kilby and his squad know that they can’t look too far ahead, though, and have a few obstacles to overcome before a state championship is in their sights.
“The first step is to get our division back,” said Myers of the team’s initial objective. “Once that happens, then state champs is what we’re looking for.”
The girls were set to hit the road on Thursday, March 27, (after Coastal Point press time), heading up to Camden to face another Henlopen North opponent in Caesar Rodney High School. Next Tuesday, April 1, will mark the beginning of a five-game home series, when Seaford comes to visit. The Lady Blue Jays finished 3-11-1 in 2013, falling to IR 4-0 when the two teams met last season. That game is set to begin at 7 p.m.