By Kevin Eickman
On November 3, the Milford High School field hockey season was on the line. With a loss against visiting Caravel the Bucs might have been on the outside looking in when the State tournament field was announced. On that afternoon, against a top caliber opponent, Milford took the next step in the evolution of a program that looks to be on the rise. Milford was able to defeat the then 13-1 Caravel Academy, in a 3-2 overtime thriller. “There is no doubt it was the highlight of the season, it’s the kind of game we had been trying to put together all year,” said Coach Andrea Fleming.
Milford would fall in the first round of the tournament on a 1-0 road loss to Wilmington Friends School. While the loss was disappointing, it was a solid effort and the second season in a row that the Bucs qualified for the tournament. Coach Fleming believes that Milford is laying the groundwork for an even greater success in the future “We are building a mindset, we are at the point that playing well, but still losing isn’t good enough for us,” she commented. “This is a program committed to success and we want to get better every year.”
Continuing to reflect on the season, Coach Fleming thought that it was a year where all her players continued to improve. One of those that stood out in their degree of improvement was junior Sydney Reynolds. The midfielder had a very slow start to the season and had to work hard to earn her playing time “Sydney was not where she needed to be at the beginning of the season but to her credit she worked diligently and became an outstanding player,” commented Fleming.
Another player that took great strides during the year was Kasey Fry. The sophomore worked diligently to improve her game and it showed. “Casey was a tireless worker, who got better and better as the season progressed,” commented Fleming. “If she continues to improve, she could be something very special.”
When asked which senior would be the biggest void to be filled next year, Fleming stated that goalie Rebekah Yanacek would be a big loss for the program “We are talking about a very special talent, that contributed to this program from her first day as a freshman to her final game as a senior,” said Fleming. “The bigger the moment, the bigger she became. She is a fantastic talent and a phenomenal leader.”
Talking about the group as a whole, Fleming is full of praise for the team. “This team was always willing to do the work. They knew nothing was going to be handed to them and they weren’t afraid to put in the hard work.” Fleming continued, “When you have a group that works this hard it’s a pleasure to coach. They never complained, they never argued, they just gave it their all.”
Looking forward to next season, Coach Fleming thinks that the team can take the next step. However, that next step will not come unless everybody buys into what needs to be done. “The players need to do the work during the off season, they need to work on their strength, skill and stamina,” she said. “The effort that they put in all year long is what pays off during the season.”