Hockey Closes Out Season, Tournament Next

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By Kevin Eickman

Way back in October, Milford field hockey lost a home game to Lake Forest 2-0. It was a devastating loss that gave Milford little margin for error if they wanted to achieve their goal of qualifying for the State tournament. Speaking to coach Andrea Fleming at the time, she knew that things had to change if the Buccaneers were going to get to the playoffs. “We can’t come out here and play with no passion, no discipline and expect to win,” Fleming said. “We have to play the entire game, doing the right things all game long if we want to win.”

Following that loss, Milford would go 5-2 over the final seven games of the season. Their only losses came from Delmar and Cape Henlopen, the number three and number one seeds in the upcoming State tournament. In fact Fleming points to those games as huge confidence builders for her young and improving team. “Those games are when our girls saw it, that’s when the light came on for them,” Fleming said. “While we lost them, we were competitive with two of the top teams in the state. It showed them that they could play with them.”

In the five wins that Milford earned down the stretch, they outscored their opponents by a combined score of 28-1. The final game of that span included the final game of the season, a home tilt against Saint Thomas More, which was also senior recognition day for Milford. It was unique in the number of senior field hockey players that were recognized. That number was exactly one, something that Fleming believes bodes well for the future. “The experience that these girls have received over the last two years as underclassman is really starting to pay off,” stated Fleming. “Playing at the varsity level like these girls have been, is huge.”

 

Photo Taken By Kevin Eickman

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Milford would win the game against Saint Thomas More 8-0. While the game featured multiple goal scorers for the Buccaneers, perhaps the most special of the group was that lone senior on the squad. Courtney Lingo closed out her home career with a special game. Besides scoring a goal, Lingo also contributed two assists in the game, a fantastic way to go out. “You always want to play well, but your last game at home is something very special,” Lingo said. “To be able to score and contribute to the team was really great.”

Speaking with Lingo about playing for Milford, she said the greatest aspect of the experience has been working with her teammates. “We are like a group of sisters out here, we push each other to be better but we have such a great time together.” Fleming was quick to point out the greatest strength of Lingo is her dedication to hard work. “We gave her a lot of areas to work on and she improved in every one of them,” stated Fleming. “She went from being okay, to becoming a complete field hockey player, that is all due to her hard work.”

With the five wins down the stretch, Milford earned the 15th seed in the upcoming State tournament. Milford will travel up to Hockessin Montessori School this Tuesday, where they will face off against Wilmington Christian School. It is a trip that Fleming knows her team is looking forward to. “Our goal from the start was to make the tournament, whoever we play we know that it is going to be a huge challenge,” Fleming said. “One thing we know for sure, we are going to have to play our best if we expect to win.”