By Kevin Eickman
With school back in session, Milford High School fall sports teams are getting ready to kick it into high gear. In addition to the previously highlighted football team, Milford will be fielding teams in other sports including cross country, field hockey, soccer and volleyball. As Milford sports continue to build a reputation in the Northern Division, the Buccaneers hope to excel in the 2012 season.
Being the smallest team in Division 1, it was not surprising that some Milford teams would see a decline in success. The one sport that has consistently bucked that trend is the cross country team. With Czar Bloom at the helm, Milford has continued to thrive in this grueling sport. Last season the Buccaneers notched Kent County and Henlopen Conference Championships, in both girls and boys disciplines. Once again Milford returns a large group of enthusiastic runners poised to take another run at continued success.
Coach Bloom is very optimistic about this years squad “This squad has a real good spirit, and they are all putting in a great effort,” Bloom added. “They are a little more reserved then last years squad, but I expect them to be a force.” The continued success of the program is used as a measuring stick from season to season for the Bucs “We like to keep raising the bar, and there is little doubt that’s our goal for this season, we are always striving to get better.” said Bloom.
With a mix of newcomers and veterans expected to contribute, Milford will need to lean on the captains of the team to show the younger runners the way. This year’s captains are Trevor Maloney and Henry Henry Phalen for the boys, while Alexis Groce is the captain for the girls squad.
The Milford field hockey team enjoyed a solid year last season, posting a 9-5-1 record and qualifying for the State tournament. Head coach Andrea Fleming returns a squad that hopes to improve on their first round exit, when Milford fell to Saint Marks 1-0. Looking to improve on last years record, Fleming believes the Buccaneers need to improve in several different areas. The first area Fleming would like to see improvement in is fitness “We have been working really hard to make sure we are in the best shape that we can be in,” said Fleming. “Our goal is to improve at every practice, be it skills; teamwork; or fitness,” adding “We want to get better every day.”
Milford will be returning a large number of veterans from last years squad and Fleming hopes that they will provide the leadership the team needs. Players expected to provide leadership are, Rebekah Yanacek (goalie); Sarah Silicato (defender); Lindsay Siok (midfielder); Peyton Shockley (midfielder); Alyssa Mills (midfielder/defender); Destiny Sivels (attack) and Jayme Melvin (attack). Coach Fleming is looking for some of the other returning players to step up as well; juniors Sidney Reynolds and Kylie Nelson are expected to provide additional experience. Milford is also lucky enough to have some sophomores that are expected to provide key contributions including Savannah Jones; Kasey Fry and Kayla Brennan.
The aspect coach Fleming enjoys the most about coaching this squad is the effort the players are willing to put in “I love how hard the girls are willing to work, the intensity level has been where we have needed it all the time,” she added. “They are putting in the work to achieve the goal this team has, and that’s to try and win a State Championship. Milford will start the season at home on Tuesday, September 11th at 4 pm.
Finishing last season with an 8-7 record brought the Buccaneers tantalizing close to a coveted State tournament birth. This season the goal of the soccer team is to take the next step, qualifying for the tournament and making some noise. With an exciting mix of players, Coach Ken Outten thinks that this squad is capable of taking the next step “We have a pretty talented group, that have been playing together for a while,” Outten added. “We are looking to post a good enough record to get to the State tournament, that’s our goal.”
Looking to build on last season, Outten expects the Buccaneers to be flexible in their style of play “ We expect to be able to tailor our play to the capabilities of our opponent,” commented Outten. “I think we have the flexibility to be able to compete under a variety of circumstances.”
The Buccaneers’ greatest strength looks to be the fact that they are returning a large group of seniors, plus the introduction of some talented underclassmen. Senior Captain Isai Socia is expected to provide a competitive edge to the team while Brett Mills is expected to provide a spirited spark to the squad. “We have a deep and talented group, I can’t wait to get started,” Outten said. Milford has a very tough start to the season, opening up on the road on Tuesday September 11th. The home opener is two days later September 13th. Game time for both matches is 7 pm.
With just the inaugural campaign under their belts, the Milford volleyball team looks to improve off their first season. With volleyball being a new sport to the school, there is little doubt that it will soon come to be enjoyed by those who take the time to appreciate it. Coach Shawn Snyder returns a team that is looking to improve off of last season’s 2-13 record. Milford volleyball will tip off their season on Monday, September 10th at 5 pm at Woodbridge. Their home opener is Wednesday, September 12th at 5 pm.