By Kevin Eickman
It was a date that was circled on their calendar from the moment the 2014 schedule was announced. This past Thursday the Milford boys’ soccer team hosted the reigning Division II Champion, Indian River Indians, under the lights at Briggs Stadium. Having played a difficult non-conference schedule leading up to the game, it was hoped that the Bucs would be ready for their Henlopen South opponents.
Milford came out flat however and before they knew what had happened they found themselves trailing very early in the contest. Indian River senior Daniel Garza opened the scoring in the 14th minute as he took the ball down the left side and shot across the goal, hitting the right side of the post before the ball went in the net.
Just a minute later IR junior Edgar Perez scored the second goal of the contest, this one on a ball which he struck almost straight up in the air, the ball somehow found its way over Milford junior keeper Chase Taylor. Falling behind 2-0 seemed to take the Bucs by surprise and for the first time this season they looked a bit rattled. “This was the first time we have looked shaken out there,” coach Todd French stated. “After giving up two goals like that, the back line looked like it was struggling for the first time I can remember.”
The Buccaneers would find their footing as the opening half progressed, able to work in a few scoring chances. With the game heading towards the end of the first half, it looked as if Milford would get out of it trailing 2-0, then disaster struck. Garza would net his second goal of the evening from 25 yards out. The strike did not look menacing at first, but was low to the ground and difficult for Taylor to see. The ball found the back of the net and just like that Milford ended the half on the wrong end of a 3-0 deficit.
After gathering themselves at the half, Milford proceeded to make a much better accounting of themselves in the second half. Milford created several good scoring opportunities, as IR was content to lay back and sit on their lead. “I was real proud of how the team responded in the second half,” French said. “We simply need to make it happen over both halves, we can’t fall behind like we did and expect to win.”
The hard work for Milford would pay off as senior Peterson Mondelus would get the Bucs on the scoreboard. I hard strike from the top of the box hit twine in the 56th minute, closing the deficit to 3-1. With Milford continuing to apply pressure, there was hope that they were going to make a game of it. That is just what they did and it looked as if Mondelus would score his second goal of the match, letting go with a blistering shot just 6 yards out. An Indian River defense man made a fantastic play however, hurling his body in front of the ball and keeping it out of the net.
While Milford would have a few more chances, they never again seriously threatened to score. To add insult to injury, Mondelus drew his second yellow card of the match, disqualifying him from this Tuesdays match at Sussex Central. “The second yellow was a real 50-50 type of call, we really should have been more careful in that situation,” said French. In falling to Indian River, the Buccaneers record dropped to 2-4.