The Indian River High School boys’ soccer team is sporting quite a few new faces rocking the green and gold for the 2021 season, but the expectations for the program are the same as every other year.
Division title. Conference title. State title.
The defending DIAA Division II state champions have started off their season with a win and a tie, and are well on their way to working their way to their season-long goals.
In their season-opener on Saturday, Sept. 11, the Indians hosted Newark Charter in a rematch of last year’s state championship contest. This one was as highly contested as the final game from last year, with both teams fighting to a 1-1 draw.
The Patriots scored first in the first half, before IR’s dynamic junior, Jordan Illian, fired home a shot to tie the game in the second half. Freshman Leonardo Chester assisted on the IR goal.
The two teams fought through an overtime period, only to remain tied 1-1 in the end.
The Indians out-shot the Patriots 12-5 in the contest, and had a decided advantage in corner-kick opportunities as well, at 8-3. Senior Reece Stone turned aside four Newark Charter shots in goal.
On Monday, Sept. 13, the Indians once again found themselves in a 1-0 first-half hole, only to flip the proverbial switch and pound Polytech 7-1.
Illian recorded a hat trick in the game to lead the Indians, with four other Indians also figuring in on the second-half offensive outburst. Sergio Parada Basurto, Luke Veirs, Dominic Delaney and Deny Cruz Bonilla scored the other goals for IR, with Blake Morgan and Parker Steele getting credit for assists.
Again, IR held a strong edge in shots, at 15-6, and doubled up the Panthers in corner-kick chances, at 6-3. Stone was strong between the pipes, making five saves to pick up the win.
IR opens up their Henlopen Athletic Conference South Division slate with a home date against Seaford on Friday, Sept. 17. The Blue Jays are 2-1 to start the season, with wins over Mt. Pleasant (2-1) and Milford (5-1), while they fell to Tower Hill (4-1).