Indians capture Division II state soccer title

Indian River players celebrate following their Division II state championship victory. Delaware State News/Craig Anderson

DOVER — Fueled by a dominant second half performance, Indian River High topped Newark Charter 2-1 to win the DIAA Division II boys soccer tournament on Saturday night at Dover Stadium.

Sophomore Jordan Illian scored in the 68th minute to break a scoreless tie, then tallied another goal five minutes later to finally register the fine play on the scoreboard. Sophomore Evan Peterson assisted on the second score, which was a breakaway after Illian controlled the pass his way.

Newark Charter finally scored with less than three minutes left, but couldn’t mount another charge to net the equalizer.
IR completed a 14-2 season to capture its third state championship since 2013. Newark Charter ended with a 9-3-1 record.

Indian River goalie Bastian Perry goes high for a save against Newark Charter. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“I would describe this team as extremely hard working,” IR coach Steve Kilby said. “We have a lot of talented players and they’ve played together so that’s a big, big bonus for them.”

Of Illian, Kilby said, “He’s very talented, very dynamic, still has to figure some things out as far as decision making goes but, hey, I’m glad he’s on our team.

“The first 20 minutes were a bit shaky, I think there were some nerves,” Kilby said. “We gradually got better (as the match went on).”

Illian thanked Kilby “for always believing in all of us and never doubting one of us and always pushing us to be the best. Having three of these (as a program) is nice and winning one of our own is nice.”

Jax Cathell (6) and Indian teammate Eddie Mochiam trying to advance the ball against the Patriots. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

There was extra motivation to win for the seniors, Illian said.

Senior Jax Cathell described the surge as coming because “We finally started playing as a unit, we needed chemistry and when it came the second half it all clicked and we all started playing well together.”

Said Illian, “We started waking up, getting moving as a team.”

Just after the second half of the match commenced, Illian twice booted balls that standout senior Omar Baker was able to head toward the goal to no avail. He set up another header to senior Arturo Cruz Bonilla and just missed a goal of his own on a 25-yard blast that went wide. Cruz Bonilla had another solid shot that went right into the arms of the waiting Newark Charter goalkeeper.

Eventually, Indian River gained a 14-9 shot advantage. Senior goalkeeper Bastian Perry made four saves for the Indians.