By Kevin Eickman
The Milford field hockey team knew that they would have a challenging start to the season. They probably did not expect that they would be facing an almost must win contest in just the fourth game of the season. That was exactly the case however as they hosted Dover this past Thursday in their first home game of the year.
The Senators came into the game sporting a 2-1 record, with their sole defeat coming at the hands of the defending State champions Cape Henlopen. With the reality of zero wins in four games staring them in the eyes, Milford would respond with an outstanding performance.
Pressing up almost from the very beginning, the Buccaneers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just seven minutes in as junior Megan Fry scored, with sophomore Darby Brennan assisting. It was the first of two goals for Brennan, who was a force on both sides of the ball. “Megan had a real fantastic game today she was all over the field and continually made big plays,” coach Andrea Fleming stated. “It’s not just what she brings to offense, but she is fearless on defense as well.”
That fearlessness was on display throughout as Fry provided solid work on defense during corners. Time and again she stepped up to thwart the play of the attackers, providing a constant anchor under stressful situations. Speaking with Fry after the game, it was easy to see she was happy with the win. “Getting the win tonight was real important to us, we knew that we hadn’t played our best yet so we really wanted to get the win,” she stated. When asked about jumping up and covering the shooter on corner situations, Fry said it wasn’t something she gave much thought to. “You really don’t think about it, you just do it.”
Junior Rajene Bowe would add another first period goal with just three minutes left in the opening half, providing Milford with a 2-0 lead and the confidence that goes along with it as the teams entered halftime.
With Fry netting her second score, just over a minute into the second half, it was clear it would be up to the Milford defense to defend the onslaught that was certain to come. Milford was solid the entire half with every player providing a solid effort and playing fantastic positional hockey. Bowe, Brennan and Fry were constantly dropping back, adding even greater skill to a solid defense that came ready to play. “I can’t say enough about our defense, the girls were fantastic today,” Fleming commented. “Today is the type of team play we have been working towards, it was great to see.”
Milford had lost the season opener 1-0 at Lake Forest before managing a 2-2 tie at Sussex Tech. The other game was a 3-1 loss at highly regarded Polytech. The whole time Fleming was waiting for the light to come on. With the win against Dover, Milford now knows what they are capable of doing. The goal is to continue to bring their best as the season progresses. “We have to make sure we bring it every game, we can’t afford a letdown,” Fleming stated. “Last season we did not always play our best and we ended up missing out on the playoffs because of it. We can’t let it happen again.”
The Buccaneers will be on the road this Tuesday at Seaford, before hosting Laurel on Thursday and Saint Thomas More on Friday. Start time for all games is 4 pm.