Ten memorable moments of the 2013-2014 season
After the Lady Indians’ quarterfinal loss to Wilmington Charter on the diamond last Wednesday, the 2013-2014 Indian River High School athletic season officially drew to a close. While the Indians’ softball and girls’ soccer team both had state title hopes that didn’t pan out, the athletic year, collectively, was one for the record books — with two state titles, two Henlopen Conference championships and multiple South Division championships.
To cap off such a successful year of Indian River sports, we thought we’d do our best “Sportscenter Top 10,” impression and highlight what we thought were the most memorable sports moments of the 2013-2014 school year.
(10) Lady Indians conquer Caravel
IR softball started the season off hot under first-year head coach Erika Brittingham and put together enough quality victories to take up this entire list. However, their most notable win came against a previously undefeated Caravel squad — a team they hadn’t gotten past in years.
“The girls on this team have never beaten Caravel before,” said Brittingham of the victory earlier this season. “It was a good win for us.”
At the time, the 5-3 victory put the Lady Indians at 6-1, and it turned out to be critical in their eventual playoff seeding. To put the victory in perspective, Caravel would go on to make their 15th state championship appearance in the last 16 years, though they lost to Laurel, 3-0.
(9) Sturgis eclipses 1,000-yard mark as a sophomore
After graduating their three most-productive offensive players from the 2012 football season, the Indians had some major questions looming over their roster last fall. They got at least one answer early on, as sophomore running back KiAnté Sturgis quickly established himself as the team’s premiere rusher.
“We knew he was going to be special at the beginning of the year. We knew he’d get it as long as he stayed healthy,” said head coach Ray Steele, referring to Sturgis breaking the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Sturgis made the accomplishment official against a previously undefeated Delmar team, with a 180-yard four-touchdown performance — helping the Indians to a 42-22 victory that locked in their third consecutive Henlopen South title.
(8) Beam’s last-minute goal seals the win at Tech
The Indian River girls’ soccer team went on an unprecedented regular-season run this spring, but the standout moment of their 13-game winning streak came late in the season against rival Sussex Tech.
As the 2-2 game began to wind down, sophomore forward Brooke Beam took matters into her own hands in the game’s final minute.
“Brooke received the ball at the edge of the 18, cut back, beat two players and then just drove a screamer into the net,” head coach Steve Kilby described of Beam’s game-winning goal.
(7) ‘Karlie Clutch’ homers in the seventh for comeback win at Delmar
Despite falling short of their ultimate goal of winning a state championship, the Indian River softball team put together a special season in 2014.
Playing in the fiercely competitive Henlopen Conference, not only did every game count but every pitch counted — and senior shortstop Karlie Smith demonstrated that when she took the plate with her team down 2-0 against Delmar in the seventh inning.
With two outs and two runners on, Smith demolished a shot over the leftfield fence, to put her team up 3-2, and rounded the bases to greet her ecstatic teammates.
“I was just in the zone,” said Smith of the game-winning homerun. “It’s one of those moments. I just knew I had to do something.”
(6) ‘J. Troubs’ gets 100th ‘Dub’
After seeing a banner for wrestling in the gym, with just two names on it, during Moving Up Day in the eighth grade, senior Jake Troublefield made it his career goal to get 100 wins and get his name on it, as well.
This past winter, he accomplished that goal in front of his home crowd. After the 100th win, an announcement was made over the loudspeaker, and he was greeted and congratulated by teammates.
“I can’t explain it,” he said after the match. “I’m speechless. It’s amazing.”
(5) IR hoops ends playoff drought
Before head coach Mike Fabber arrived at Indian River High School, the basketball team was 0-19. Just two seasons later, Fabber led the Indians to the DIAA playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
Facing Cape Henlopen in the first round, the Indians led 14-0 early on but would go on to lose 72-59. Despite the loss, Fabber was proud of his squad and their accomplishment.
“Two years ago, I walk in to a team that just went 0-19,” he said to put the drastic turnaround in perspective. “[Most of] these seniors were on it. Two years later, we’re in the state tournament.”
(4) Steele, Indians claim third consecutive Henlopen South title
With a new quarterback, new running back and new leaders, the Indian River football team got better every single week of the 2013 season, going from an early-season loss to Stephen Decatur all the way to their third consecutive Henlopen South title.
To lock in the division title, the Indians had to take down undefeated Delmar in one of the final games of the season, which they did in front of their home crowd in a 42-22 victory.
Sturgis ran for 180 yards and four touchdowns in the win, and his brother — junior cornerback Kei Juan Major — picked off two passes on defense.
(3) Lady Indians take down Tech for second time in HAC Championship
After defeating Sussex Tech in the regular season, the Indian River girls’ soccer team found themselves having to do it all over again in the Henlopen Conference championship game.
Tech struck first, on a penalty kick, to go up 1-0, but senior goalkeeper Alex Myers notched nine saves to keep the Lady Ravens off the board for the rest of the game.
Junior Bri Belfiore knocked in a header for the equalizer just before the half, and senior Devin Thune added what would be the game-winning goal off another corner kick late in the second half, to make it 2-1.
The girls were shockingly knocked out of the first round of the playoffs, but their second victory over Tech and HAC Championship performance will forever define a special season.
(2) Roberts wins state title for long jump
After missing two regular-season meets for lacrosse games, senior Tim Roberts wasn’t going to miss the track-and-field state championships.
Roberts had placed third in the long jump as a sophomore and second as a junior, but as a senior, took first place — his second career state championship and the second state title for Indian River High School for the 2013-2014 school year.
“I was sick of getting second and third for states,” Roberts said of the state title. “I wanted to prove myself.”
(1) Kilby, IR soccer net first-ever state championship
For the past few years, the Indian River High School soccer team and head coach Steve Kilby had challenged for a state title — but this past fall, they finally won their first-ever, with a 3-0 win vs. St. Elizabeth’s.
“Since Day 1 of the pre-season, this was the objective,” said Kilby after the game. “These guys have put in so much work, it’s amazing, and it’s paid off tonight.”