By Kevin Eickman
When Todd French took over as Milford soccer coach two years ago, the goal was to improve the overall level of play of the squad. Entering the third season of French’s tenure, the results have been quite encouraging. Last year the Buccaneers posted an 8-6 record on their way to securing a Division II State tournament birth. One of the key components of the team’s improvement has been increasing the level of non-division competition. This year Milford has continued to schedule challenging opponents as they seek to continue improving.
“We believe that we raise our level by playing up against tougher competition and the results are becoming evident,” French stated.
In retrospect the tournament birth last season was quite an accomplishment considering the obstacles that Milford had to overcome. Beset by injuries for most of the year, the Buccaneers were forced to play a number of underclassmen. The result is that a number of those players gained crucial varsity experience that French believes will benefit the team this season. “We were really forced to dig deep last season and as a result of it we are going to be better for it,” French said. “The guys learned what it takes to win, they understand the level of commitment that they have in order to be successful.”
With 11 returning seniors and 11 players that saw action in the Buccaneers playoff game to Archmere last season, Milford looks to be well positioned to take the next step. “You have to take that playoff game as a real positive, it really gave everyone a clear understanding of what it really takes to be successful in tournament play,” commented French. “That was a team that made it to the semi-finals and we played even with them for the first 20 minutes or so, so the guys understand what is needed to take the next step.”
With experience comes a greater flexibility for the squad. “We have six or seven guys that we can play almost anywhere,” French stated. “When you have players with that type of versatility you can be much more fluid in what you can do in a given situation. The fact that we don’t have to be locked into a style of play is gong to be another huge plus for us this season.” This is in addition to the depth that Milford will be enjoying this year. “We have 13 or 14 guys that are good enough to start, that builds ability and depth at the same time. That is huge,” French stated.
There are several players to keep an eye out for this season, one of which is senior Matt Mitzel who has been a three year starter at mid-fielder. “Matt is a dedicated player who knows his job and provides leadership,” said French. Another three year starter is Alexis Torres, who will anchor the defense with fellow senior Carlos Martinez at center back. “As always, defense is a top priority for us. With these guys in the back, we believe that we have the foundation for a solid back line,” said French. Filling out the back row will be senior Zach Domercant along with junior Khiry Hovington playing right and left back.
A newcomer to keep an eye out for this year is a senior Sanantone Corvil who is a new transfer into the district. “Corvil is a very bright and exciting players, we believe he can provide quite a bit of offensive punch for us,” French stated. Another player to keep an eye out for is junior Davidson Marcellus who has continued to grow as striker. With his maturation, it is expected that Marcellus is capable of some big things. French commented, “As he continues to improve, you just can’t wait to see what he can do next.”
Last year saw Milford have some issues at goalkeeper, that situation looks to have solidified this year. Sophomore Jaxson Tuner is expected to man the nets for the Buccaneers this year, a player that continues to keep improving. “Jaxson is a tremendous athlete who is coming along tremendously. He is showing us that he can do everything it takes to play the position, the arrow is definitely pointing up for him,” said French.
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