By Sean Marraffini
Goalkeeper Rebekah Yanacek proved why she is one of the best Milford athletes with a stellar performance against a tough Rider squad last week as she backstopped the Buc field hockey team to a tie against Caesar Rodney.
The Lady Bucs came into the game after a 2-1 win over Laurel wanting to prove that they are playoff material. They were not going to back down against CR, a team that has not lost since their first game and has scored 30 goals while allowing only 1 all season.
From the opening whistle Milford pressed on offense and worked to clear midfield, forcing the Riders to fight for possession.
“This was the most consistent game they’ve played,” Milford head coach Andrea Fleming said. “They communicated well and really played as a team.”
For a majority of the first half the Bucs’ midfield stopped the Riders advances while in return feeding the ball to Destiny Sivels who made life very difficult for the Rider defense and goalie Cassetty Howerin.
Every time that CR put a shot on goal it was met by Yanacek who turned away all shots in the first half. An intense first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
“We need to work on the offensive side to our midfield,” said coach Fleming. “We got a lot of shots on goal, which got cleared out and no one was there.”
The intensity from the first half carried over to the second. The only difference was both sides knew they needed to score.
During the second half the Bucs’ midfield fell flat and in the 19th minute Riders’ Lauren Niezgoda gave CR the 1-0 lead. The lead would not last long. Two minutes later Sivels would connect on a pass from Savannah Becker to tie the game 1-1.
Both sides would drive the field in a desperate attempt to take the lead but neither team could find a way to beat the opposing goalie. In extra time, the Riders and Bucs played a more open game but it was CR who turned up the pressure.
Goalie Rebekah Yanacek stole the show by stopping several shots. Whether she was standing, kneeling or on the ground she was not going to allow the Riders to score.
“The pressure can get to you,” stated Yanacek. “but the nerves just go away and you do what you have to do.”
“She was awesome,” Fleming said. “She had great saves, was aggressive and communicated well with the defense. I was very happy with her performance.”
In the waning seconds with a breakaway imminent, Yanacek ran from her goal and kicked the ball back to midfield just as time expired.
“We’ve proven that if we play the full time, we can hang with anybody,” said Coach Fleming.
The Lady Bucs look to continue a strong season as they face their next opponent, at Delmar, on Wednesday, October 12 at 4pm.