By Kevin Eickman
On October 24, the Milford volleyball team played its final match of the season – a home match against Lake Forest, which was designated as Senior Day. However, there were no seniors on a youthful Buccaneers squad to be recognized.
This double-edged sword for Milford was evident in what would be a season-ending three games to one defeat. What was also evident was that this Buccaneers squad is poised for better days ahead.
“Of course, we wanted to win the game today, that’s why you keep score.” Coach Heather Moffet said. “But like every game we played this year, we battled and we got better. We got one more win than we did last season (5-10) and I am expecting a better team to come back next season.”
The fight in Milford was evident in the second game as Lake Forest had a 21-14 lead and looked ready to quickly double its advantage to 2-0. The Buccaneers had another idea, working one point at a time they were able to come all the way back and take the game, as they scored 10 unanswered points at one point to earn the win and even the match at one game apiece.
“That’s the kind of heart this team has. They never give up and play to the last point no matter what the scoreboard says. That’s what this season has been all about,” Moffett said.
One of the keys to Milford’s offense was junior co-captain Charlee McDowell who offered solid serves throughout the Buccaneer comeback. Serve after serve, McDowell made the Spartan work to set up solid returns, providing MHS with plenty of scoring chances which it eagerly took advantage of. The junior thinks that the Bucs are poised to turn the corner next season.
“There is no doubt we got better this season. I also think we are going to get better next year too,” McDowell said. “This team works so hard and when you work hard and put in the effort, the results are going to come.”
Speaking with McDowell’s fellow co-captain McKayla Ryan, who had a solid game at the net, it was obvious she likes the direction that the Buccaneers are headed in as well.
“You can see it. Every game we improve a little bit, every game we grow a bit stronger.” Ryan said. “We have also grown closer as family as the season has gone on and I think that is important too.”
Perhaps more important than the scoreboard and the words of the Milford players and coach was the way they carried themselves. Despite what the scoreboard showed, the Buccaneers dove for every ball and encouraged each other throughout the game. It’s not an easy thing to lay your body on the line to try and get a dig, but the Buccaneers did it with a tenacity which should pay off in the future for them.
“The heart that this team has shown is what impressed me the most this year about our team,” Moffet said. “I think that seeing us bond together is something we need to build on, that is something we really need to work on to take the next step.”
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