By all accounts, no matter who you talk to in soccer circles, the Indian River High School boys’ soccer team is loaded top to bottom this season — speed, talent and veteran leadership across the board.
Head coach Steve Kilby can look to any number of players each night to lead the charges on the pitch, and it started Tuesday, Oct. 20, with an impressive dominating performance in a 2-0 win over visiting Polytech to open the 2020 season.
Junior Blake Morgan got the Indians on the board at the 18:52 mark with an assist from sophomore Jordan Illian to take the initial 1-0 lead. Illian would put the game away with a goal of his own — thanks to a helper from Josh Bird — at the 75-minute point in the second half, for the final verdict.
“The team was ready to play, but with no scrimmages during the preseason, we were a bit disjointed in the first half,” Kilby said of his team’s performance. “The second half saw us settle down and play better, more fluid … connected more passes and looked good. This group needs to just play simple. Less is more in our case.”
The Indians’ defense put the clamps down on the Polytech offense from jump street, allowing just six shots in total for the game. By comparison, the IR offense spent a lot of time on the other end as they generated 25 shots.
The score could have been much worse for Polytech, had it not been for the stellar performance between the pipes by Panthers goalie Aiden Stephan, who made 22 saves in the contest. IR senior goalie Bastian Perry turned in a clean sheet, recording five saves for the shutout win.
“Our first goal was really nice to see. Jordan beat a couple of defenders and served a ball to the back post, where Blake met it and headed it in,” Kilby added. “We had several goal-mouth scrambles, which could have led to more goals. Our second goal came off of an amazing ball from Josh Bird, which Jordan collected at full speed, and stuck home.”
The Indians held a 5-0 advantage in penalty corner chances in the game as well.
IR was set to host Henlopen Athletic Conference South Division rival Sussex Academy on Thursday, Oct. 22, after Coastal Point press time. Results of that game can be found on the Coastal Point sports Facebook page.
Sussex Tech will come to town on Monday, Oct. 26, for a HAC divisional crossover game set to begin at 6 p.m. The first road contest of the season for the Indians will be on Tuesday, Oct. 27, when they travel up to Smyrna for a 6 p.m. tilt to take on the Eagles.