By Kevin Eickman
The improvement of Milford varsity lacrosse over the last few years has been a multifaceted effort. Besides a change in coaching at the high school, there are new opportunities for lacrosse players of all ages. The Milford Youth Lacrosse Association (MYLA ) has added a travel team this year. While still early in the season, the results to this point have been promising.
On a late June evening, with high temperatures and stifling humidity in the air, the members of this first year squad were practicing for their next tournament. The team goes by the the name of the Milford Bucks and has no direct affiliation with the high school. However, a look at the roster indicates that most of these players will be part of roster next spring. Off season training is something that Milford head coach Joe Vavala has been preaching since his arrival and from the looks of things the message has been getting across.
Talking with coach Blake Faulkner of the Bucks, he believes that this is a program that was a long time coming. “It’s just common sense that if you only play a sport three months a year, you won’t be as good at it when you dedicate more time to it,” Faulkner said. “If a player wants to really improve at lacrosse, they really need to dedicate themselves to working at it all year round.”
In their first tournament of the year, the Bucks performed quite well, capturing second place in their group. “I think the ream performed really well, to make it to the championship game in your first tournament is quite an accomplishment,” Faulkner stated. In addition to their tournament performance, Faulkner has been quite impressed with the effort the team is putting in at practices. “These guys are so dedicated to putting in the work, it’s quite impressive. There are a lot of other things that a young person could do during the summer, the fact that they are putting in this type of effort is a credit to them as individuals.”
Talking with past Lacrosse player and assistant JV coach Timothy Millman, he believes that the youth lacrosse program is something that will pay dividends in the future. “I wish there was a program like this when I was younger, it is such a great opportunity for the guys to improve. I am certain that if I was a part of a program like this it would have greatly improved my game.”
While improving player skills is one of the goals of the MYLA, one of the main benefits is the way it is helping to grow the sport in the Milford area. “Lacrosse is becoming very popular and one of the reasons is because of programs like this,” Millman commented. “This is a sport that kids just gravitate to, it’s a lot of fun and kids enjoy every aspect of it.”