By Kevin Eickman
As the minutes ticked away, the Milford soccer team was doing all that they could to get an equalizer. After allowing a first half goal to Woodbridge, the Buccaneers had been fighting through fatigue from having to play their second game in less than 24 hours after falling 5-1 to Caesar Rodney.
All through the second half Milford looked to be struggling with stamina, but continued to try and put the ball in the net. While it was understandable that they would struggle in a second game just one day after a tough road game, the magnitude of the loss to Woodbridge was not lost on coach Todd French.
“This was a game we really needed to have, if we want to make the playoffs,” French stated. “It seems like every season we end up doing this to ourselves, playing poorly when we can least afford to do it.”
Adding to the fatigue factor for the Buccaneers is the lack of depth that Milford had on Thursday. With just four substitutes available, Milford has been battling being short handed for a while now. “Being down to just four healthy replacement players, it makes things that much more difficult for us to compete,” said French. “It is just one more thing that we have had to deal with and we are going to have to deal with it if we want to win soccer games.”
The schedule did not do any favors for the Buccaneers this past week. After battling 8-2 Caesar Rodney on Wednesday, the Buccaneers had to travel to Polytech on Saturday, facing off against 11-1 and tournament bound Panthers. Milford was able to battle back from a two goal deficit in the second half, actually equalizing on a Polytech own goal with just 13 minutes remaining in the game.
In those thirteen minutes however, the Panthers would demonstrate just how good they were. Polytech would net three goals to settle the matter, dropping the Buccaneers to a record of 5-6 with time running out on the season. The schedule will do Milford no favors this Tuesday as they will host an 11-1 Cape Henlopen squad. “We just have to keep working, we have to beat the teams we are capable of beating and hope that we get some help to make the playoffs,” said French.
While it is unlikely Milford will earn a victory against Cape, they are still quite alive for a tournament birth if they can win their last three games. It is going to be a challenge, but French believes his team will give it their best shot down the stretch. “Look, this team has a lot of heart, they will give it their all as we close out the season,” French said. “We can’t worry about playoff points or any of that, we just have to play soccer as well as we can.”
Following Cape, Milford will play Laurel twice and Delmar once.