By Kevin Eickman
Following a first half that was not up to Buccaneer standards, coach Andrea Fleming-McPike had a chat with her squad. Although they had come out aggressively and quickly, Milford failed to find the back of the net in the early going.
“We came out very strong in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the first half. We weren’t scoring like we should have been, so whenever we don’t score like we should. Whenever we should like when we have lots of shots or lots of corners, we tend to get frustrated and kind of lose our leadership and our communication,” Fleming-McPike stated. “It’s something we’ve been working on. So we talked about that second half and they fixed their issues.”
After taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, courtesy of a goal from senior Megan Fry. Milford came out on a mission to start the second stanza and quickly asserted themselves. Senior Rajene Bowe would record a hat trick in the second half, enabling the Buccaneers to record a 4-0 victory.
One of the younger players on the squad that has been seeing incremental increases in playing time is sophomore Vanasha Daniels. Her play has improved steadily over the course of the year, drawing praise from her coach. “She has improved tremendously, she is like a totally different player,” Fleming-McPike said. “She is using her speed, she’s fast, she’s explosive. She’s keeping the ball on her stick, she’s controlling the ball. We are just so, so impressed and so proud of the progress that she has made.”
Prior to the start of this season, when we spoke with Fleming-McPike, there was no doubt that the bar would be set high for this year’s squad. She left little doubt that Milford was ready to take their game to the next level. She spoke about the work the players had put in during the off-season and how it had benefited the Buccaneers during training camp. “They came into camp ready to play, with advanced skills and in great shape. Coming in ready to play like that, in shape and with solid skills is a huge boost for everyone,” Fleming-McPike said at the time. Over the first month of the season, the rest of the State is getting a good look at just how ready to play Milford is.
With the season almost two thirds of the way through, the results so far have been perfect. Following this past Thursday’s victory over Caesar Rodney, the Buccaneers improved their record to an unblemished 9-0. Already this season the Buccaneers have recorded some huge victories, defeating Sussex Tech 5-0 early in the campaign, along with a solid 2-1 victory against Lake Forest up at University of Delaware on October 1.
This Tuesday, the intensity level will ratchet up for the Buccaneers as they host the just as impressive 10-0 Delmar Wildcats, runners up to Cape Henlopen for last season’s DIAA State Championship. You have to go back a long way to find the last time that Milford defeated Delmar, all the way back to the 2009 season.
On top of the fact that this is a huge game because of the opponent, it will also be the final home, regular season game for the Bucs seniors. Some of the seniors taking the field this Tuesday, logged significant playing time as freshman, with Milford staggering home to a 5-10 finish. When asked about the significance of Delmar, Fleming-McPike plans on treating it like just another game. “We take it game by game, so now our focus is on Delmar,” Fleming-McPike stated. “That’s always in the back of your mind when you’re going into a head to head match up, when both teams are undefeated.”
Milford will host Delmar on Senior Day this Tuesday at 4pm.
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