By Kevin Eickman
If there was one area of strength and consistency over the last few Milford lacrosse seasons, it was the play recent Buccaneer graduates Clay Stevenson and Michael Holstein. To understand what these two players have meant to Milford Lacrosse, you need to go back all the way to their freshman seasons. In his first year on the team Stevenson grabbed the bull by the horns and seized the starting job as the Milford goal keeper. Holstein would work his way up to varsity by the conclusion of his freshman season as well, demonstrating exceptional skill on defense . One thing was for certain, these were special players.
Both players announced their college selections earlier in the year with Stevenson selecting Division III Methodist University in North Carolina and Holstein becoming the first Milford lacrosse player to play in Division II as he will be enrolling at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia.
Stevenson was impressed with the biology department at Methodist as he has placed himself on an educational track which he hopes will culminate with him becoming an oral surgeon. Stevenson was thrilled with the entire feel of the college when he visited. “The area is fantastic, I loved the coach and all the players I met seemed like really nice guys,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson burst on the scene, small in stature but long on reflexes and determination. The number of shots Stevenson faced that initial season was immense, but he never let his head drop and let the experience serve him well. “That first year wasn’t easy, but I learned a lot,” stated Stevenson. “I was able to build self confidence real fast, I knew that I could play the position and that was huge for me going forward.” When looking back at his time at Milford Stevenson was quick to point out the
season which saw the Buccaneers claim their first ever Henlopen South title. “Beating Delmar in the title game was huge, it was a big step forward for the program,” he said.
While he has had a lot of help along the way, Stevenson gives a lot of credit to his father for getting him to where he is today. “My Dad was always there for me, whenever I needed it,” Stevenson commented. “He was always there to give me that little push when I needed it, he was always there to help me and make me a better person.”
Holstein chose Davis and Elkins in part because his grandfather attended the college and played football there. It was his visit there however that really made up his mind. “We just went for a visit and I fell in love with it,” Holstein said. “I think the coach really knows what he is doing and it will give me a great opportunity to further develop my game.”
While at Davis and Elkins, Holstein will be studying physical education with an eye towards coaching in the future. It was Holstein’s father and grandfather who he credits with providing guidance throughout his life. “They showed me how to act as a player and a man,” Holstein stated. “They showed me it’s not just about winning and losing, it’s about being a sportsman, it’s about being a better human being.”
Buccaneers’ coach Blake Faulkner has little doubt his former players will be successful no matter where life takes them. “These are two quality individuals who are not afraid of hard work and doing what it takes to succeed,” Faulkner said. “You can’t teach the intangibles these guys have, that’s what separates them from the rest.”