Riders notch Henlopen Conference three-peat with 2-0 boys’ soccer win

CR’s Lyod Coutilien holds the trophy after the Riders nabbed its third straight Henlopen Conference title Saturday. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

GEORGETOWN — It was only a matter of time for Lyod Coutilien.

The Caesar Rodney High senior forward aggressively applied pressure in front of the net for most of the game.

It finally paid off in the 53rd minute as he slipped past the goalkeeper and hit the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.

“I was offsides, and I saw the ball going to Monroe [Hite] and I just ran my heart out to get back onside,” Coutilien said of the goal. “Then, as soon as he hit it, I just had to tip the ball from the keeper and score.”

From there, Caesar Rodney cruised to the 2-0 shutout over Indian River High to nab the Henlopen Conference boys’ soccer title Saturday afternoon at Sussex Academy.

Junior Andrew Dawson netted CR’s other goal, with an unassisted score in the 78th minute. Hite was credited with the assist on Coutilien’s goal.

CR’s Spencer Ott (10) and IR’s Josh Bird (13) battle for possession as they sprint down the sideline. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

It’s the program’s third consecutive conference title, marking the first conference three-peat in program history. Last year’s title win also came against the Indians, 4-0, with Coutilien netting two of those goals and adding an assist.

The shutout win avenges CR’s 3-2 overtime loss to IR earlier in the season.

“We were up 2-0 and we lost 3-2 and we had to win the North to get another chance at them,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “We were looking forward to the rematch…we’re proud of the guys. They just bought in and they’re just a great group of kids.”

After receiving a yellow card early in CR’s last showdown with IR on Sept. 10, Coutilien missed most of the OT loss. He wanted to play his heart out to get the win over IR this time around.

CR outshot the Indians, 17-8, and had three corner kick attempts to IR’s two.

Joe McGloin dribbles the ball down the field for the Riders. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

The Riders (14-2) earned the third seed in the DIAA Division I state tournament and will face sixth-seeded Middletown High next Saturday at Milford High. The game is set for 7 p.m.

Indian River (12-3-1) earned the third seed in the Div. II tourney and will enjoy a first-round bye. Next Saturday, they’ll face the winner of sixth-seeded Brandywine High and 11th-seeded Conrad in the quarterfinal round at Milford. The game is set for 5 p.m.

“It’s very exciting, history has been made and I can’t believe I’m a part of this team,” said goalkeeper Zander Omans. “We always stay focused for the next game, so we’ve been preparing for about a week now — after school, half-days we still practice, no school we still practice. We’re always on the grind to get better and we were looking forward to this one.”

Omans finished with six saves as CR posted its seventh shutout.

CR pushed the ball up the field and created ample scoring opportunities in the first half but were unable to get the ball past IR goalkeeper Bastian Perry. Perry finished with 12 saves.

The two sides went into the halftime break in a 0-0 deadlock.

“At halftime, we talked about us finishing,” said Coutilien. “As long as we get the ball and we finish, there will be no problem.”

Following Coutilien’s go-ahead goal, Dawson cemented the victory with his goal in stoppage time.

“It’s always a pleasure to play Indian River, they have a nice team — but so do we,” said Gravatt. “It’s a great tune up for the state tournament, it’s bragging rights between the North and South and we own them, so that’s real nice.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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