It took Indian River just 43 seconds to score against Sussex Academy, which was enough for the Indians to advance to the DIAA Division II soccer final against Newark Charter.
The lone goal came when IR’s Omar Baker put a corner kick to the opposite side of goalie Cole White, who collided with sophomore Jordan Illian, who then booted it to the back of the twine.
“We knew we needed to score first,” said Illian. “It was going to be a tight game, and we wanted to be the ones to set the tone.”
“We possessed a large portion of the game,” said Indian River head coach Steve Kilby.
The Indians took 17 shots to the Seahawks’ six and held just a 3-2 edge in corners.
“Cole [White] came up big in goal for them,” Kilby said. “He made 11 saves and a few that were real special.”
Indian River goalie Bastian Perry stopped five Seahawks scoring attempts. He has tallied 10 shutouts this season.
“I feel our defense and goalie make up one of the best backlines in the state,” Illian said. “Our midfield distributes the ball so well, and that gives our offense the ability take more chances on goal.”
“We are fortunate that our back line of Mike Peterson, Jax Cathell, Evan Peterson and Josh Bird has only allowed 0.5 goals a game,” said Kilby. “Josh has given us huge leadership out of the back.”
Newark Charter comes into Saturday’s final as the No. 2 seed.
“We just have to go out strong Saturday and play our game,” Illian said. “We have to set the pace and get on top early.”