By Kevin Eickman
The last time the Milford boys soccer team took the field, they took a 6-0 tournament loss at the hands of eventual State Champion Salesianum. What could have easily gotten lost in a defeat like that, was how successful a season Milford had. Fighting through a rash of injuries, coach Ken Outten and his squad, never gave up, posting an 8-5-1 regular season record, battling their way into the State tournament.
This year Milford will be in the Henlopen south, a conference that contains a number of quality teams, not the least of which is Indian River. Indian River made their way to the State title game, where they fell to the same Salesianum team that knocked Milford out of the tournament.
Milford has their work cut out for them this season, having graduated 13 seniors from last year’s squad. This is however a team not devoid of talent, and Outten is looking forward to the upcoming season. “While this group might be a bit young, they are tough and gritty,” stated Coach Outten. “We have some tactical things that we need to work on, but I really like our personnel.”
Milford will be looking for senior Andrez Luna-Lima to lead the way with his creativity. Junior Peterson Mondelus is looking to provide leadership and goals, playing the striker position. On the back line will be junior Brandon Perez, a player that Outten describes as a “natural leader.” Talking about these three players, Outten is pleased with where they are. “These guys have the knowledge and skills to help the less experienced guys along,” he said. “I believe that the three of them have what it takes to make those around them better.”
Milford will be looking to fill a big void, due to the graduation of goalkeeper Brett McFarland. Last years backup, senior Carlos Hernandez might have seen like the logical choice, however he won’t be in net for Milford. “Carlos is a solid keeper, but we are a better team when we have him playing in the field,” commented Outten. With Hernandez now on the pitch, Outten is turning to a freshman to play keeper. Evan Becker is projected to be the starting goalkeeper, though never having played soccer before. “While Evan lacks experience, he is a natural athlete with tremendous potential,” Outten said. “He has picked up goalkeeper at a remarkably surprising rate, hopefully he continues to work hard and improve.”
The goal this year, is to once again make the State tournament. “The fact that we have guys that know what it takes to get to the tournament is a big plus,” Outten stated. “This is a very hard working team, that has a will to win.”
Milford opens up their season playing their first two games on the road. Following the road contests against Delaware Military Academy on the September 10 and Cape Henlopen on the September 12, Milford will host Saint Mark’s on Saturday, September 14. The game is part of a day-long celebration of soccer, featuring a JV contest, a student teacher game and an Alumni game. The games start a 1:30 pm.