Indian River improves to 10-0 with shutout of Smyrna

Sophomore Emma Ruley (12) celebrating with her Indian River teammates after scoring the first goal against Smyrna. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

SMYRNA – If Indian River High’s field hockey squad had been flying under the radar this season, they certainly aren’t anymore.

The Indians picked up its second consecutive road shutout with a 6-0 statement win over Smyrna High Tuesday afternoon.

The win improves unbeaten IR’s record to 10-0 ahead of this Saturday afternoon’s showdown with defending DIAA Division II champion Delmar High (9-0) at University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium.

The loss drops Smyrna to 6-2-1 ahead of Thursday afternoon’s Henlopen North matchup with defending DIAA Division I champion Cape Henlopen High (7-1).

Indian River is the first Henlopen Conference squad to reach the 10-win mark this year.

“This is crazy,” said sophomore Emma Ruley. “We were really going hard into this game thinking, ‘this is big for us, we’ve never been 10-0 before.’ We really just went with the mindset, every time we scored a goal, that it’s back to being 0-0, so we always had that fight to get another goal. We really succeeded today.”

Indian River’s Rylie Cordrey advances the ball through the Eagle defense in the first half. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“They were gunning for us, so we just kind of worked on things we needed to work on and everything kind of fell together and the pieces came together and interlocked. We just gelled today, and that’s what counts,” said IR coach Jodi Stone.

Ruley and senior Avery Congleton each tallied a pair of goals, while junior Jessica Rybicki and senior Rylie Cordrey added one each. Junior Kayler Townsend registered four assists, with Cordrey being credited with one assist.

IR edged the Eagles, 8-6, in penalty corners.

Indian River’s offensive attack peppered Smyrna’s back line and goalkeeper with 16 shots, with the Eagles’ Brynn Rifino tallying saves on 10 of those shots.

While the offense provided plenty of scoring for the Indians, the defense had just as much success at the other end of the field.

The back line, led by senior center back Morgan Bomhardt, provided strong defensive support in front of junior goalkeeper Allyson Clark. Clark finished the game with five saves on six shots to record IR’s third overall, and second straight, shutout on the season.

Indian River controlled the tempo early and often, eventually putting the first goal in the back of the cage off a Ruley goal at the 19:23 mark of the first half.

“The first one, I believe it was K.K. (Kayler Townsend), she did the curl in and Avery [Congleton] tapped it. It came off a girl’s stick and I was right there, so I just swept it in,” Ruley said of the goal.

A pair of goals late in the half from Congleton and Cordrey, just a minute and a half apart, gave IR the 3-0 advantage heading into halftime.

“Playing on turf, we knew we had to get up early, get up quick, in order to get our momentum going and set the pace for the game,” said Stone.

After earning just one penalty corner through the first 30 minutes, Smyrna drew four corners within the first three and a half minutes of the second half.

Each time, however, IR’s back line fended off the scoring opportunity.

“Morgan [Bomhardt], she saved I think every single ball that came in,” Ruley said of her teammate. “She has great block tackles, and she defended one with her body, which caused another corner, but if it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have won 6-0. She’s a big help, and Kaylee [Hall] is a big help, she can lift it really well.”

Through 10 games, IR has outscored opponents 51-11 and has yet to allow more than three goals in a game. Last year’s matchup with Delmar resulted in a 12-1 loss.

“This win for us, it definitely gives us confidence heading into Saturday,” said Bomhardt. “Playing Delmar, that’s one of the games where our goal is usually to keep the score low – don’t let them blow us out – but after this game we want to beat Delmar. This game was a real confidence-booster.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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