IR field hockey wins school record 10th straight to start season
Ever since the summer practices began back in August, the Indian River High School field hockey team has had one focus — one day, one practice, one game at a time. They’ve played by that mantra every step of the way, and it has led them to a historical moment through the first 10 games of the season.
Ten opponents. Ten wins. For the first time in school history, the Indians have started a season undefeated, at 10-0, and that now sets up what is the biggest game in the program’s recent history — a showdown with perennial state power Delmar on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the University of Delaware at 12:30 p.m.
The historical win came on Tuesday, Oct. 8, when the Indians traveled to Smyrna for a Henlopen Conference divisional crossover matchup with the Eagles. IR once again got balanced scoring across the board with four different players picking up goals.
“It’s awesome because we have tried to train these ladies — these young athletes — not to rely on only one person,” said head coach Jodi Stone after the game. “It’s has to be a balance. It has to be a team. It has to be an effort by all to be successful.”
And the history-making win was.
“It is certainly special, with a special group of girls,” continued Stone. “We continue to work hard every day, taking things one day at a time, one practice and one game at a time. These girls are playing with a lot of confidence, and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”
Sophomore Emma Ruley got the Indians on the board first, at 19:23, with the first of her two goals in the game off an assist from Kayler Townsend.
About 13 minute later, Avery Congleton banged home her first of two goals as well, at the 6:59 mark, with Townsend again in a giving mood. Just over a minute later, Rylie Cordrey gave the Indians a 3-0 lead heading into the halftime break.
It proved to be more than enough for the Indians, their defense and goalie Allyson Clark.
In the second half, Smyrna tried to get itself back into the game with several corner opportunities within the first four minutes, but the IR defense and Clark stood tall, dashing the Eagles’ hopes.
“We had a little talk and said that this isn’t the first half of the game that we [the coaches] were watching,” Stone added. “What’s changed? [Smyrna] didn’t make any major changes, so we just had to say, ‘You need to get in there and do your job,’ and they did. The girls turned it around. It’s good. It’s a good little test for them that you can’t ever relax at any given time.”
Following a timeout, the Indians came back out and put the clamps on Smyrna the rest of the way. The Eagles didn’t get another shot from that point forward.
Ruley got the Indians back on the board with just over 10 minutes to play in the game when she hammered home a loose ball out of the air, past the Smyrna goalie, for the 4-0 lead. Townsend assisted once again as part of her four-assist game.
Less than a minute later, on one of the Indians’ eight corner chances, Jess Rybicki slam home a shot from the point that screamed by the Eagles’ defense and goalie for a 5-0 advantage.
Congleton wrapped up the scoring — with a Townsend assist — at 7:54.
The Indians out-shot the Eagles, 16-7, and earned more penalty corners (8-6) in the game as well.
IR’s Clark was stellar in the cage once again, with six saves, including a spectacular kick save on a Smyrna shot in a 1-on-1 situation.
Indians shut out Sussex Academy
The Indians cruised to another 6-0 win prior to the Smyrna game, on Thursday, Oct. 3, when they visited Sussex Academy.
IR scored four first-half goals to put any potential doubt away early. Townsend scored a pair, with Cordrey and Ruley adding the others.
In the second half, Congleton and Cordrey put the game away, with each adding a goal to the ledger. Both girls and Ruley were credited with assists in the game.
The Indians dominated this one as well, with a 27-4 shot advantage, while picking up 11 penalty corner chances, to none for the Seahawks.
Clark was hardly tested, thanks to her defense and midfield, and made the save of the only shot that was on goal.
By Jason Feather