With a strong nucleus of running talent, the Indian River High School boys’ soccer team is geared up to make a run at yet another Henlopen Athletic Conference South Division title.
With the unknown remaining about postseason play, the division championship is at the top of the goal list for the Indians, who will once again be guided by 15-year veteran head coach Steve Kilby.
The Indians went 13-3-1 overall in 2019, and made it all the way to the DIAA Division II state semifinals, where they dropped a 3-1 decision to Wilmington Friends School.
Gone are offensive leaders Jared Cordoba and Alex DiLuzio, but there is plenty of firepower in the Indians’ offensive artillery for the 2020 season. Sophomore forward Jordan Illian is the speedster up top who will be counted on for goal production, while senior midfielders Willem Lambertson, Eddie Mochiam, Arturo Cruz Bonilla and Erick Aguilera Baruch should also figure into the offensive success. Along the back line, seniors Jax Cathell and Joshua Bird will anchor the defensive unit in front of senior net-minder Bastian Perry.
“This team has incredible potential and talent,” Kilby said of his 2020 squad. “The division title is definitely a goal, as we are unsure about a conference championship game or state tournament. If we are going to play, hopefully, we can have some form of state tournament for our divisions, as this group has a wonderful opportunity in front of them.”
A pair of sophomore newcomers will be expected to make immediate contributions to the Indians this year. Parker Steele and Sergio Rivera will see plenty of time, on defense and at forward, respectively.
With the delayed start to a season that was previously expected to kick off in February of 2021, but then moved back to October by the DIAA, the preparations for the season have certainly not been what they would have been during any other season.
“The delayed start has definitely made for a bizarre preseason,” Kilby admitted. “Things were way outside of what we would consider normal. The pandemic just adds one more layer of issues to deal with.”
The Indians will open the season on Tuesday, Oct. 20, with the first of three straight to start the season at home as they host Polytech. In fact, five of the first six games for this season are at home for IR.
On Thursday, Oct. 22, they will welcome division rival Sussex Academy. The season-opening home slate wraps up with Division I power Sussex Tech on Monday, Oct. 26. All three games start at 6 p.m.
The following night — Tuesday, Oct. 27 — the Indians will travel to Smyrna for a divisional crossover battle before returning home for games on Thursday, Oct. 29, and Monday, Nov. 2, against Delmar and Caesar Rodney, respectively.
Fans not permitted into the stadium will still be able to catch all the action, as all of the Indians’ home games will be broadcast live over the NFHS Network with a subscription to the site.