Indians cruise to 4-2 boys’ soccer win over CR

Luke Morgan of Indian River and Caesar Rodney’s Lyod Coutilien battle for the ball in Tuesday night’s match. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DAGSBORO — It took just one minute and seven seconds for the Indian River boys’ soccer team to put the ball in the back of the net against Caesar Rodney Tuesday night.

Senior Yohanfer de Leon used an assist from senior Luke McCabe to net the game’s first goal and set the offensive tempo early.
It ignited what would turn out to be a four-goal first half in IR’s 4-2 victory over the Riders.

“That’s always our approach, to score as many goals as quickly as we can,” IR coach Steve Kilby said of the fast start.

CR goalie Dillon Rahe dives on the ball ahead of Alexander DiLuzio of Indian River in the first half. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“As soon as we scored that first goal, this stadium was on fire. Everybody rose, the whole team is jumping up and down, big huddle,” said senior goalkeeper Zach Neal, who finished with 24 saves.

“It means the world to all of us, especially to me sitting back there, they didn’t give me much to do until the second half.”

The win marks IR’s first victory over the Riders since Sept. 13, 2016 and allows the Indians to remain unbeaten at 4-0.

After playing its home games at the nearby John M. Clayton Elementary School for years, Tuesday night’s showdown also marked the first time IR played a game inside the Indian River High School football stadium, with new Bermuda grass installed prior to the fall season.

Lyod Coutilien of Caesar Rodney leaps to body block the ball from Indian River’s Erick Aguilera Baruch.

“We were excited to play for the first time on this campus ever,” said Kilby. “We’ve kind of been the outcast across the street, but we now have a home field that’s wide enough and the surface is good enough that we can play here. So, they were really excited about that.”

With the added excitement, junior Jared Cordoba netted two goals, including a goal off an Alexander DiLuzio assist in the game’s seventh minute to extend IR’s early lead to 2-0.

“Scoring early goals really helped us,” Cordoba said. “It’s a really big win for us, especially our first game on this new field it’s even better.”

An Indian River foul in the goalie box resulted in a penalty kick attempt for Caesar Rodney in the 26th minute, with senior Jacob Stant successfully making the kick to cut the lead in half, 2-1.

Eight minutes later, IR regained the momentum when junior Yves Graf scored his second goal of the season. Cordoba had the assist on the play.

Cordoba’s second goal of the night during stoppage time capped the first-half scoring surge for the Indians.

“The first half, they were very well-organized and did a very nice job,” Kilby said of his team’s defense. “The second half, CR came out and they turned it up a notch.

“We told them at halftime that they have to be ready because that’s going to happen. We didn’t really handle that as well as we should have, however, they did a good job – they shut a lot of opportunities down – and we were able to come out with the 4-2 win.”

CR’s Braden Phillips cut the lead to 4-2 with a goal in the 52nd minute, but Zach Neal and Indian River’s back line preserved the two-goal win.

“I personally believe and feel that he is one of the best keepers in the state,” Kilby said of Neal.

“He flies under the radar because he plays for us downstate, so he doesn’t get the recognition that he should year-round, but he’s as good as anybody in this state.”

Caesar Rodney attempted nine corner kicks to IR’s zero, but Neal and his defense allowed just the two goals.

“As a team we like to work on set pieces, get those right, because in big games such as this one you might not get many opportunities,” Neal said of the success defending the corner kick.

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