It is getting late, early for Milford Lacrosse. Just six games into the season, the Buccaneers are on the rope and searching for answers. In what could be described a disappointing week, Milford dropped back to back games for the first time in over a year. The defeats would drop Milford’s record to 2-4 on the season, placing their quest for third consecutive playoff birth in jeopardy.
On Friday evening, Milford would host their rivals Lake Forest in what amounted to a must win game. It was a game in which Milford knew they had to have if they were to have any chance to repeat as Henlopen South Champions.
Milford was able to end the first quarter with a 3-2 lead, but there was a pattern developing of Milford spending an huge amount of time in man down situations. While the Buccaneers were often able to kill of these penalties, it was an indication of a big problem developing for the Buccaneers. In offering the extra man opportunities to Lake, Milford was wearing out their defense as well as giving confidence to the visiting Spartans. “We started exactly how we wanted to tonight, but we didn’t finish it,” coach Blake Faulkner stated. “They got a little bit physical with us and we didn’t react well to that.”
In the second quarter, Lake began to take control of the game. With Milford continually giving the visitors golden chances, the Buccaneers looked nothing if not vulnerable. While Milford senior keeper Clay Stevenson was solid in turning back 24 shots in the game, the feeling that the dam was about to burst kept growing. With the teams all square at four, and time running down in the second half, Lake would take the lead 5-4. The visitors would never trail again.
Milford would draw even for the final time in the game, as sophomore Dallas Rhodes would score with 10:29 left in the third quarter. Lake Forest answered quickly to take a 6-5 lead and then began to quickly settle the issue.
The Buccaneers would commit a non-releasable foul, enabling Lake to take control of the game. With each passing minute, Lake began to impose their will on the Buccaneers. In the end, Lake would leave with a well earned 13-7 win. As the game moved forward, Milford had no answer for the Spartans attack and the frustration began to show. “It got away from us in the second half and we needed to be more controlled than we were.,” Faulkner said. “When it gets out of hand like that, it’s about trying to finish the game the best you can.”
The loss to Lake was the second tough defeat of the week for Milford, as they had coughed up three goals in the fourth quarter at Smyrna on Tuesday, before falling in overtime. When talking about where Milford needs to go from here, Faulkner believes that it is the mental game that needs the greatest amount of work. “It’s about guys doing what they are supposed to do. It’s about guys understanding their assignments and executing them,” Faulkner said. “I believe in this team, I believe that they have what it takes for them to be winners.”