Field hockey season starts in 2-2 tie for IR

The Lady Indians kicked off their varsity field hockey season with an eventful week, starting this past Monday, as they played host to Red Lion Christian Academy to begin the fall season. Still a young team with room for improvement, Indian River ended the game in a 2-2 deadlock, although first-year coach Cheryl Carey saw plenty of promise and potential in the young team, which was set to round out this week with two match-ups on the road.

“Our first game of the season definitely could have gone worse,” Carey noted. “We came out flat [against Red Lion], but the girls showed me that they could play smart and keep their composure. We were down and came back, and we didn’t quit, and that says a lot about who we are as a team.”

Red Lion’s Allison Bove started off Monday afternoon with an early goal to give the visiting team the advantage. The Lady Indians kept it close, however, as freshman attacker Karlie Smith evened the score. Red Lion went up again with a goal a minute later, nudging into the lead by halftime. IR senior Haley Winward leveled the score, though, in the second half, courtesy of Rabekah Parramore, to give the teams a 2-2 tie.

“After a game like this,” said Carey, “our girls have to look at where we need to improve. I think that’s going to be the spirit of this season, too. We want to be improving every day, trying to find that passion and heart that makes us excel in every game.”

Having her team stick with it and answer back has assured Carey that the players understand the importance of each game and are capable of keeping their heads in it.

“Karlie came back for us,” she said, “and it’s really great that, as a team, we didn’t put our heads down and get satisfied playing from behind. These girls know there’s a level they have to get at, and that’s the challenge I’ve set for them this season.”

By Tuesday, the team was back at practice, fixing up mistakes and still tweaking the lineup, as back-to-back games in the middle of this week limited the amount of time that Carey had for instruction.

“It’s a busy week,” Carey noted on Tuesday. “We [have] a game Wednesday and Thursday, and that doesn’t give a whole lot of time for discussing our mistakes. It’s extremely important, in a busy week like this, that our girls come out ready to be proactive. I really think that’s the difference between an OK team and a good team. You have to bring an intensity every day and play with meaning.”

This Wednesday, after the Coastal Point’s press deadline, the Lady Indians were headed to Caesar Rodney, who had already succumbed to a loss against Red Lion and garnered a win over Dover. Indian River was set to turn around on Thursday, heading to Woodbridge for the first of four straight conference match-ups.

The preseason had given Carey a chance to look at her players and their positions, but, she noted, there are still a few more things she’d like to fix.

“I need our girls to understand their roles and understand each other,” she said. “It’s still a work-in-progress, and we’re working with what we have. I’m still moving girls around the field, and I’m noticing that the young ones are really stepping it up. That shows a lot of promise in the program, knowing that these girls already want to improve. It’s not just the upperclassmen stepping up, but when your team’s willing to learn, that really helps the coaching aspect a lot.”

Next week, the Lady Indians’ field hockey team will host Dover on Tuesday, Sept. 21, and Seaford on Thursday, Sept. 23. Both games are scheduled for 4 p.m.