By Kevin Eickman
Coach Keith Short knew that this was going to be a season of learning for this young Buccaneer soccer team. The learning started this past Tuesday as Milford hosted their rivals, Lake Forest in a Henlopen South match up. After dropping their season opener 5-0 at Cape Henlopen, Milford found themselves trailing early in this game as Lake scored the games opening goal in the 22nd minute.
Milford was able to keep the deficit to that single goal as the half came to a close. As the second half began, Milford seemed more focused and began to apply pressure to the Lady Spartan defense. The pressure payed off as junior Angela Gleysteen attempted a shot from the top right side of the box. While it was not the cleanest of strikes, the ball found the back of the net for the equalizer.
“That wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but it was a result of all the hard work the team had put in to start the second half,” Short stated.
From that point on it was game on, as the Spartan’s unleashed an offensive barrage of their own. Setting up shop on the Milford side of the field, Lake was relentless as they provided constant pressure on the Buccaneer defense. Milford was equal to the task as time and time again someone stepped up to make the big play. No one stood taller on the defensive side of the field however, than goalkeeper Amber Bliss. The junior turned back 15 shots on the day, and was a big reason Milford was able to withstand the Lake onslaught.
“Amber was super today, she came up with some huge saves when we needed them,” said Short. “She was solid back there and was a key to victory today.”
After 10 minutes of constant pressure being applied, Milford began to regain their form as they found a path up the left side of the field. On several occasions Milford found junior Patty Delva on the run and only solid defense on the part of Lake prevented Milford from taking the lead. Milford continued to go up the left side as the game wore on, believing that if they could just get one clean run the game was there for the taking.
“We really started to gain in confidence as the game wore on, we believed that we could get the win,” Delva stated.
After Delva shot wide on a scoring opportunity, it looked as if the game would be headed to overtime as there was less than five minutes remaining in the contest. With under two minutes remaining in the game however, fortune changed. Once again Delva was on the run at midfield, this time she found freshman Margaret Sollie who worked the ball to the left corner. Sollie let go with a beautiful cross that found Delva in the center of the box. Delva wasted little time depositing the ball in the back of the net and propelling Milford to their first win of the season.
Talking with Short after the game it was easy to see how proud he was with his team. “We came out very strong to start the second half, I think that was important for us,” Short stated. “Even when Lake was pressuring us after we equalized, the girls played very tough. They bent, but refused to break.”
Milford will travel to Sussex Central on Monday, before hosting Sussex Tech this Thursday at 5:30.