Milford field hockey wins overtime thriller 3-2
By Kevin Eickman
All season long Coach Fleming had been imploring, begging and pleading for her team to play up to the level they are capable of. On Saturday afternoon facing Caravel Academy, during senior day, the Buccaneers did just that. In a game that could prove a harbinger of things to come, Milford started strong and became even stronger when they had to.
After squandering a 2-0 advantage and heading into overtime down a player, there was little hope that Milford would come away with a victory they so desperately needed. Physically exhausted and reeling in desperation, they dug deeper then a reasonable person should have expected. When the Bucs needed it most, senior leadership stepped up in a game that will be remembered for years to come.
With goals from seniors Destiny Sivels and Peyton Shockley and a relentless pressure from a swarming Milford team, it looked as if the Buccaneers might make quick work of Caravel. The visitors, however, did not enter the game with a 13-1 record by giving up. Just before halftime Caravel scored a goal to make it 2-1. With the start of the second half, Caravel regained their footing and went on the attack. With Milford a player down, Caravel equalized 12 minutes into the second half and created a whole new game.
Milford was back on their heels now, trying to turn back wave after wave of the attacking visitors. Caravel set up shop for almost the entire remainder of the game, in the Milford portion of the field. This created numerous corner chances and shots on goal. On this day, as she has been for so many games this season, senior goal keeper Rebekah Yanacek stepped up. After yielding the equalizer with Milford a player down, she demonstrated what type of player she is.“She has been such a big part of this team since she started playing, and today she was huge,” commented coach Andrea Fleming.
Even at equal strength, Milford was having a hard time keeping up with Caravel, and it looked as if it would be just a matter of time before Milford yielded the game winner. Somehow they managed to hang on, somehow they managed to dig deeper. “We had to keep grinding, we couldn’t give up,” said Sivels. “Quitting in this game was not an option, we weren’t going to do it.”
Milford was looking exhausted and it was obvious they had nothing left, obvious to everyone but the team on the field. Working the ball into the middle of the circle, it was all there for the taking, all that had to be done was to seize the moment. That is exactly what Peyton Shockley did, firing a blistering shot on goal that the Caravel keeper never even had a chance on. “We weren’t going to quit, that was not going to happen,” commented Shockley. “That’s the second time we had to play a man down in overtime this year and we won them both.”
This was a thrilling victory from start to finish and coach Fleming was thrilled with the way that her team preformed.“I think this was the best the team has played all season. We have been waiting for them to play up to their potential all season,” Fleming added. “They demonstrated today what playing with relentless intensity can do for them, they truly stepped up their game today.”
With Milford now officially in the state tournament, this could be a stepping stone to bigger things for the Buccaneers “When we play like this we can beat anyone, this is how we need to play as we go forward in the playoffs,” Fleming concluded.