Cordrey’s overtime goal lifts Indian River to first field hockey state final

Following a thrilling 2-1 overtime win, Indian River’s Rylie Cordrey, center, celebrates with a postgame hug with teammate Savannah O’Shields while Kayler Townsend (24) is all smiles. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

GEORGETOWN — As Rylie Cordrey was setting up for the shot, she didn’t have a single thing running through her mind.

The Indian River High senior, using an assist from junior teammate Kayler Townsend, netted the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Indians past Lake Forest High, 2-1, in Wednesday night’s DIAA Division II field hockey state tournament semifinal at Sussex Academy.

The win puts the second-seeded Indians in Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. state championship showdown against defending state champion and top-seeded Delmar High (18-0) at Sussex Academy.

It marks the first state title appearance in the history of the IR field hockey program. This season also marked the fourth straight tourney appearance for the Indians.

Indian River’s Rylie Cordrey, Savannah O’Shields and Avery Congleton hug near midfield following Congleton’s game-tying score early in the second half.

“I was telling her (Kayler) to drop it back, because I knew she didn’t have an angle,” said Cordrey. “But honestly, when I was taking the shot, nothing was going through my mind because the less I think, the better I play.”

Townsend didn’t even know she had been credited with the assist — she didn’t care. She only had one thing on her mind.

“As soon as I heard it hit that backboard, I was like, ‘we did it,’” said Townsend. “Honestly, I had so much adrenaline going, and we were all just in there hitting the ball. Rylie scooped it perfectly after I think every girl on our team hit it. It was just perfect.”

Senior Avery Congleton scored the game-tying goal eight minutes into the second half. Cordrey’s game-winner came just 24 seconds into the overtime period.

“Unbelievable,” said IR coach Jodi Stone. “Pinch me, is this for real? They did it within 24 seconds, but that’s been our M.O. all year during regular season games — we’re scoring right off the bat.

Lake’s Elle Wood and IR’s Kaylee Hall battle for possession of the ball in the second half.

“I just told them they needed to turn it on, and they made some adjustments … they knew it was kind of do or die at this point, and they had to give it all they got. They got the job done, and quickly.”

After earning a first-round bye, the Indians (16-1) shut out seventh-seeded Newark Charter 4-0 in Saturday’s quarterfinals to set up the Henlopen South rematch.

Third-seeded Lake Forest (12-4-1) was making its third consecutive semifinal appearance.

Congleton and Cordrey also scored the two goals in IR’s 2-0 shutout of the Spartans on Oct. 17.

The Indians avenged their 1-0 loss to the Spartans in the first round of the 2017 tourney.

“Our team works so well together, it’s just one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Townsend said. “We all came into this game knowing that if we work as a team, we can accomplish anything.”

Lake Forest’s Hawwa Ahmad-Statts looks to clear the ball against Indian River’s Brynn McCabe.

Indian River edged Lake in penalty corner attempts, 15-2, and outshot the Spartans, 19-4.

Goalkeeper August Lewis made 16 saves for Lake Forest; Allyson Clark registered a pair of saves for IR.

Even with the difference in corners and shots, Lake Forest struck first when Jessica Tyndall drove the ball into the back of the cage for an early goal less than seven minutes into the game.

Congleton drilled the equalizer early in the second half to set up the OT period.

Indian River’s lone loss was a 4-1 defeat to Delmar at University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium on Oct. 12 in the annual Turf Bowl.
Cordrey scored the team’s lone goal, with an assist from Brynn McCabe.

“The girls are very excited,” said Stone. “Everything’s just coming together after several years of hard work and dedication, both by my coaching staff and by my players. It’s just wonderful, words can’t express how excited we are.”

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