Indian River scored two first-half goals and played solid defense in the second half to defeat Caesar Rodney 2-1 Saturday night in the Henlopen Conference Championship game played under cold, rainy conditions at Milford High School.
The Indians became the champions of the Henlopen South on the strength of their 11-3-1 record during the regular season, while Caesar Rodney won the north with a 12-3 record.This was the first yeara post-season title game was played between the two champions.
Indian River hit the score board first on a goal in the 18th minute by senior Sam Izzo on a nice feed from Luan Sales.
In the 20th minute, the Riders nearly tied the score on a sharp header by Austin Hayward, by I.R. goal keeper Sam Cannon kept the opposition off the board.
Indian River would increase their lead to 2-0 in the 37th minute on a goal by Luis Cruz.
The Riders moved the ball well around the field, but the Indians defense tightened whenever CR got near Cannon. The Indians play defense very well, and that showed throughout the evening.
Hayward finally got the Riders on the board when he score on a Penalty Kick in the 72nd minute.
Overall, Cannon made nine saves and his teammate Ian Walls made two saves after Cannon was shaken up on a play late in the contest.Rider goal keeper Kevin Patrick Sheahan was credited with four saves.
Caesar Rodney willbe the fourth seed in the upcoming DIAA Division 1 state soccer tournament on Saturday against 5th seed Charter School of Wilmington. The quarterfinal game will be played at Smyrna High School beginning at 6 p.m.
The Indians are seeded second in the new DIAA Division II state soccer tournament and earned a first-round bye. They will play Saturday evening at Cape Henlopen at 8 p.m. against either Archmere Academy or Mount Pleasant. Indian River was the state runner-up last season, losing to Salesianum in the last all-inclusive state championship game.