Indian River girls head to soccer finals with 2-1 win over DMA

SMYRNA — They’ve been finding each other on the pitch the same way for years.

And now Indian River senior Brooke Beam and junior Maddie Hogsten will get a chance to do it one last time.

Each of the IR girls’ soccer standouts assisted the other on first half goals Wednesday night and the top-seeded Indians defeated No. 5 Delaware Military Academy 2-1 in the Division II state tournament semifinals.

The win advanced Indian River to a finals rematch versus No. 2 Caravel that will be played either Friday or Saturday at Smyrna High School. Caravel defeated IR 3-1 in last year’s championship match.

“I’ve played with Brooke since I was 9,” said Hogsten, whose goal 15 minutes in gave the Indians a 1-0 advantage. “We started out on our first travel team together, and I played with her all through middle school and high school. Plus all my travel teams. We know each other.”

That chemistry, along with something she saw out of the DMA defense, is what allowed Beam the confidence to play a perfect 30-yard pass over the Seahawks midfield to Hogsten. Hogsten stayed onside near the top of the penalty box, brought in the pass, shook a DMA defender and easily scored on the open look.

“I saw that the defense was playing a pretty high line there, so I just chipped it over them and saw Maddie up high,” Beam said. “She was able to run onto it and take it in and slide it right by the keeper. She did a good job putting pressure on their backs today.”

Less than four minutes later, Hogsten returned the favor.

Seemingly trapped near the goal line left of the net, Hogsten was able to find a tiny space to pass through to Beam, who was about 10 yards out from goal. Beam received the pass without a defender between her and the keeper and made the opportunity count.

“When I saw her over there in the corner, I was just screaming for her and she played a perfect ball to me,” Beam said. “I just shot it right in the corner.”

“I heard her and I looked up and saw a little tiny spot and I knew right where to play it,” Hogsten added.

Nine minutes into the second half, DMA was able to make the Indians sweat out the victory when Melayna Immediato cut their lead in half. From 22 yards out, Immediato got an open look and shot just to the right of IR keeper Fabrea McCray, who appeared to lose the ball in the sun and wasn’t able to knock it down enough for the save.

It was the only mistake the sophomore keeper made in an otherwise strong performance that included a first-half save off a header in front of goal following a DMA corner kick. Her biggest play, however, came with six minutes left in regulation and IR clinging to its 2-1 lead.

The Seahawks got a slow-rolling pass through the IR defense and Immediato came running onto it while McCray broke toward the ball as well. McCray got there first and corralled the ball just inside the penalty box seconds before a collision with Immediato that forced the Indians keeper to the bench for a minute.

“She’s probably seen more shots throughout the last five or six games than she did the rest of the season,” IR coach Steve Kilby said of his young keeper. “Brea has really started to peak throughout the tournament, which is a big plus for us.”

Now the Indians will turn their attention to powerhouse Caravel, which has had their number in previous tournaments including last year’s. This one could be different, however, as IR enters the match a confident bunch.

“We were sad about last year, but we’re stronger this year,” Hogsten said. “I think our team’s going to do well. I’m ready.”

Jeff Mitchell covers sports for southern Delaware. You can reach him at jmitchell@newszap.com

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