By Kevin Eickman
With the Milford boys soccer team looking to begin a run to a potential State Tournament birth, this past week shaped up as a difficult one for the Buccaneers. Facing two Division I teams, the challenge was obvious, but Milford still hoped to find a way to earn a victory.
First up on the docket was 8-1 Caesar Rodney. Milford traveled to the Riders on Tuesday hoping to surprise their hosts. For the first time this season, Milford got out to a quick start. Sophomore Darkenson Berrette provided the offensive punch for the Buccaneers, netting two goals in the opening half. “Berrette has been continually improving and it was great to see him get those goals,” coach Todd French said. “We have been looking for offense from some other players and he stepped up on Tuesday.”
It was an early lead that Milford has not been accustomed to this season, and unfortunately one they were unable to hold. Milford conceded a penalty kick goal in the games 33rd minute, cutting the Milford advantage at the half. Caesar Rodney demonstrated just how good they are, scoring five unanswered goals and securing the 6-2 victory.
On Thursday Milford hosted Polytech for an evening tilt. Playing under the lights, both teams played inspired soccer all game long. The first half witnessed Milford enjoying much better play, but as the half progressed it became evident that goals would be hard to come by. “We had some chances early, we just didn’t convert them.” French stated. “When you have opportunities like we did tonight, it hurts when you don’t put the ball in the net.”
Following the scoreless first half, Polytech would score the games first goal in the matches 53rd minute. The goal came courtesy of a throw in play, with Poly able to throw the ball into the box from the sideline. The ensuing scramble allowed Poly to get a leg on it and find the back of the net. “It was a play we knew they would run, we just didn’t execute the defense on the play and it cost us.” French said. “We have had some difficulties with set pieces all season and tonight was no different for us.”
Milford spent the rest of the game trying to equalize, creating several outstanding chances. With the offense pushing up, the defense was stretched thin, but never snapped. “I was proud of our defense tonight, they were under a lot of pressure but made huge stops and saves when they had to.” French stated.
The Buccaneers’ best and final chance to score came with just under two minutes remaining in the contest, when senior Peterson Mondelus broke in on goal. A spectacular save by the Poly keeper was the only thing that prevented the match from heading for overtime.
While a 3-6-2 record might not look like it is a path to the playoffs, the difficulty level of the Buccaneers’ schedule will play into their favor when it comes to calculating their points index. While the numbers will take care of themselves, Milford must do their part by wining their final four games, starting with this Tuesday’s 7pm home game against Seaford. “We have to take care of business the rest of the way and just see what happens.” French stated.