Freshmen Binko, Diakos leading the way for IR soccer

FRANKFORD – After a 1-3 start to the 2018 season, the Indian River girls’ soccer squad picked up its sixth straight victory in shutout fashion over the Milford Bucs Thursday, May 3 at River Soccer Club.

The 9-0 win marks the team’s third shutout in the last four games.

With a pair of freshmen – Isabella Binko and Anastasia Diakos – leading the way offensively, the IR girls are currently sitting in great position with a 7-3 record and five regular season games left to play.

Out of the 44 goals IR has scored this season, the Binko/Diakos duo has accounted for 29 of them. Binko leads the team with 18 goals scored, with Diakos adding another 11 through the team’s first 10 games.

Anastasia Diakos (1) sprints down the right side of the field with the ball against Milford Thursday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“They’re both very dynamic players – they’ve got pace, their technical ability allows them to compete at this level at such a young age. It’s wonderful to have them because it allows us to keep some very solid, seasoned players behind them in the midfield and let them get forward to finish chances,” said IR head coach Steve Kilby.

“We’re trying to make them dynamic as possible with their runs,” he added. “Initially, they had one direction which was forward. But some of the things they’re working on allows them to get in behind defenders without going off-sides and also receive the ball on better angles.”

Having an on-field connection prior to arriving at IRHS may have attributed to the duo’s success with the Lady Indians so early into their high school careers.

“Me and Izzy have played together all through middle school – we used to play on a travel team together – so we play really well together and we always seem to set each other up for success and we’ve been winning a lot of games [this year],” Anastasia said following the 9-0 win over Milford Thursday.

“I think the season’s been going well,” Isabella said Thursday night. “I think being new, we’ve been able to come in and fit right in because the rest of the girls have been very welcoming.”

“These girls are so good and since Izzy and I have been playing together, I feel like we have sort of a connection on the field,” Anastasia said of her and Isabella’s success together. “I think adding the other girls into it has made us better and being able to mesh together as a team has definitely made us better as a whole.”

Isabella Binko (3) battles a Milford defender for possession during Thursday night’s shutout (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Junior IR captain Grace Engel has been an instrumental part of the team’s six-game winning streak.

“We don’t like the feeling of losing,” she simply said. “The six games in a row that we’ve won have really built our confidence, but we know not to get too far ahead of ourselves with the conference games or tournament.”

“Grace has been doing a wonderful job along with Sammi [Whelen] in the midfield,” coach Kilby said. “Grace plays behind the two attacking mids and protects our back line and she’s just been all over the field, touch-line to touch-line.”

Even after beginning the season at 1-3, coach Kilby knew the wins were on the way.

“Our slow start was a little bit misleading,” he said. “We totally out-played Polytech and they got one shot in overtime and scored while we out-shot them like 18-1. It was just one of those things, I guess. Then against Sanford, we scored an own goal after we missed the penalty kick, so it was kind of a two-goal swing.”

A 3-0 loss to a tough Henlopen North Caesar Rodney squad Tuesday, April 17 marks the last loss the girls have suffered this year.

In the team’s latest win it only took Binko about one minute to put the team’s first goal on the board and the team went into the halftime break with a 4-0 cushion.

Second-half goals from senior Olivia Garvey, junior Isabella Keith, freshman Lauren Meehan and sophomore Avery Congleton put the game out of reach. IR out-shot the Lady Bucs 40-3, and senior goalkeeper Fabrea McCray only needed to make one save to record her fourth shutout of the season.

Next up for the Lady Indians is a road match-up at Smyrna Monday, May 7 at 6 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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