IR field hockey off to 2-0 start to season with back-to-back shutouts

DAGSBORO – With consecutive shutouts Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Thursday, Sept. 13, the 2018 Indian River High field hockey squad is off to its first 2-0 start since the 2016 season.

Junior Avery Congleton recorded a hat trick (three goals) in Wednesday’s 8-0 shutout win over Woodbridge, while fellow junior Rylie Cordrey scored two goals against Woodbridge and was responsible for scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Smyrna High Thursday afternoon.

“It feels really good for the team to be so confident and to know that we can keep doing it if we keep the intensity up,” Congleton said following Thursday’s win.

Junior Rylie Cordrey scored the only goal of the game against Smyrna Thursday (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

After a dominant game offensively against Woodbridge – a game in which the Lady Indians out-shot the Lady Raiders 36-0 and earned 12 penalty corners to Woodbridge’s zero – Thursday’s showdown with Smyrna was a bit of a nail-biter.

The two squads went scoreless through the first 22 minutes of play before Cordrey’s goal at the 8:01 mark finally broke up the scoreless tie.

“I knew that it was coming to me – because that’s our starting play – I wanted to drive it, but there was a girl right there so I kind of just pulled it around her and I shot it as hard as I could up in the air because I know it’s hard for goalies to stop it up in the air,” Cordrey said of the goal, her third of the season.

“We started off slow, but then we decided after we scored the one that we’d need to keep the intensity up,” Congleton said. “In the second half we definitely kept the intensity up and didn’t let them get past us.”

After that slow offensive start in the first half, as Avery mentions, the Lady Indians had plenty of offensive opportunities in the second half and made sure to keep the pressure on Smyrna’s senior goalkeeper Katelynn Porter.

Head coach Jodi Stone’s squad earned six of the team’s seven penalty corners in the second half but were unable to add any cushion to the slim 1-0 lead.

Junior Kaylee Hall passes the ball to a teammate in Thursday’s game against Smyrna (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“I think we just have to have more patience, we don’t need to take the shot right away, we need to see the open goal and that will probably be our focus next practice,” said Cordrey of the second-half missed opportunities.

“Their goalkeeper was stellar, she was outstanding,” coach Stone said of Smyrna’s Porter. “So, they have a tough defense, a tough wall to get through. We had a couple of opportunities, but all it takes is one.”

As a team, IR out-shot the Lady Eagles 23-3 and sophomore goalkeeper Allyson Clark made a pair of saves in the team’s 1-0 win.

“It’s a great confidence-booster and will let them know they’re able to compete at this level, but there’s still work to be done because there’s still 13 games ahead of us,” said coach Stone.

Next for Indian River is a challenging road showdown at Polytech (2-0) Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 4 p.m.

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

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