IR field hockey seeking third straight DIAA tournament appearance

DAGSBORO – Indian River High’s varsity field hockey program made its second consecutive DIAA state tournament appearance last season and would like to build upon that success after dropping a tough 1-0 first-round match-up, in the pouring rain, to Lake Forest High in the 2017 state tourney.

“We’ve kind of set the bar high and even though we have a young team this year, they’re eager and they have a great willingness to strive and meet that goal,” said IR head coach Jodi Stone.

The 2018 squad hit the field for its first game-action of the preseason Saturday morning, joining 13 other schools from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia for an all-day scrimmage play day at Cape Henlopen High.

Junior co-captain Kaylee Hall (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

It was the first time coach Stone had the opportunity to see how some of the younger girls have been progressing through the first few days of preseason camp.

“We look good so far,” she said during a brief interview between games. “It’s a fun day to kind of utilize some of those skills they’ve been practicing over the past couple of days and implementing them in game-like situations. We’re progressing well.”

Heading into the 2018 season, IR’s varsity squad will have just one senior: Mackenzie Gorey.

They’ll have a strong junior class of about eight or nine, including a pair of junior co-captains, to complement Gorey’s veteran leadership.

“We’ll have about eight or nine for the junior class, eight or nine sophomores and about seven freshmen. We have some great kids coming in,” Stone said of her roster. “Mackenzie has been doing a great job with leadership. We also have a few co-captains – Rylie Cordrey and Kaylee Hall, both juniors.”

The work between the three co-captains and the rest of the team started in the off-season.

“Me and the other captains did drop-in sessions where we would pretty much do some drills, scrimmage and see what we could do to prepare for the season,” Gorey said of the off-season. “Riley, Kaylee and I work very well together. We all kind of agree on things and we’ve all been playing the past couple of years together, so we just work well together.”

With last year’s starting goalkeeper Mya Parks graduated and gone, IR is in the middle of a position battle for the goalkeeper slot.

“It’s coming along,” she said of the goalkeeper battle. “It’s a learning process. Any time you have someone of that magnitude leave, it leaves a void in your program, but you just have to have someone step up and take ownership of that position and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.”

Right now, the battle is down to a freshman and a sophomore.

IR Team goals

“They want to strive to continue to be a competitive program and be on the path we’ve been on for the past couple of years,” Stone said. “They’re striving to get into the tournament and make it a little bit further than we have been.”

Indian River will open the 2018 regular season at home against Worcester Prep School (MD) Friday, Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m.

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

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