By Kevin Eickman
With their playoff chances hanging by a thread, the Milford field hockey team could do nothing about what the teams ahead of them in the standings would do. What they could control was how they ended the season.
Hosting Caravel Academy on senior day this past Tuesday, Milford got off to a bit of a slow start. After not getting much going on the offensive end, Milford would finally score with 6:25 remaining in the half. Sophomore Daphne Leighty scored the games first goal. After overcoming the slow start, it looked like this might just be an easy one for Milford. That was far from the case however, as visiting Caravel buckled down on defense and began to come alive on offense.
With the first half winding down, the Milford defense found themselves tested time and time again. If not for some big defensive plays and some key saves by freshman goal keeper Leah Barnett, Milford would not have enjoyed the 1-0 advantage they ended the half with. “Leah is an outstanding keeper and has a very bright future for us,” coach Andrea Fleming stated.
Following the first half, it would be up to Milford to step up their play if they wanted to earn a victory. Step it up was just what Milford did to start the second half, smothering visiting Caravel and rarely letting their visitors cross midfield. The offensive pressure Milford provided was relentless, creating scoring chances and corners. “We talked to our seniors at halftime and reminded them that this was it,” said Fleming. “It would be up to them as to how they wanted to finish their last home game.”
With the relentless offensive pressure it was inevitable that Milford would score the second goal of the contest. That is just what happen as sophomore Rajene Bowe netted a score eight minutes into the half. Milford would add their third goal of the game, this one came courtesy of senior Ashley Spruil. With a 3-0 game it now looked as if the issue had been settled in favor of the host Buccaneers.
Caravel had other plans however, as they turned up the heat on Milford. Demonstrating a much more aggressive attack, Caravel would score their lone goal with 13:16 left in the game. Caravel continued on the attack and it fell fittingly to a pair of seniors to keep the defense in order. Each time Caravel would look to be ready to score a goal, there would be Kasey Fry or Kayla Brennan. Playing in their final home game, they were huge down the stretch. “It was a great way for our seniors to finish out, particularly for Kayla and Kasey, they showed real leadership when the game tightened up.” Fleming stated.
Milford would end the season with a record of 8-6-1, not good enough to qualify for the State tournament. Talking with Fleming her seniors, she had nothing but praise. “Our seniors have been a pleasure to coach. The effort that they gave at every practice, every game was outstanding,” Fleming said. “We have some very talented underclassman that we expect big things from in the future. The leadership that this group of seniors demonstrated, will be reflected by the accomplishments of the those underclassman going forward.”