With an opportunity to put a lock on the Henlopen South title this past Tuesday, the Milford Buccaneers field hockey faced a tall task as they hosted the Delmar Wildcats. With both teams coming into the game undefeated, it was easily the toughest test for both squads this season.
From the very beginning, Milford just did not look their best, while Delmar looked like they had come loaded for bear. Delmar would open the scoring in just the fourth minute and would add three more goals in the first half as Milford provided little resistance or pressure to the visitors. “We definetly came out flat and panicked,” coach Andrea Fleming-McPike stated. “We didn’t play with composure or confidence in ourselves, especially in the first half.”
While the damage may had been done, with Milford facing a 4-0 deficit against the number two team in Delaware, there was going to be no giving up on the part of the Bucs in the second half. “We talked about how they needed to play the game they know how to play,” Fleming-McPike said. “It was basically, you can choose to give up now or you can go out there and fight and bring some dignity back to yourselves.”
Milford would play a solid second half against the Wildcats. Senior Kate Melvin found the back of the net with just under ten minutes to play. While Milford would not be able to close the gap any further, their solid play in the second half showed them that they could play with highly regarded Delmar. “It showed us that OK, we can keep up with them. OK, we are just as good as them,” Fleming-McPike stated.
The loss to Delmar was something that Milford was not planning on dwelling on. “Once we walk off this field it’s over, it’s done with,” Fleming-McPike commented. “We are moving on, this is not the end of the season and does not prevent us from reaching our ultimate goal.”
While the loss was painful, it will not define this team, nor the seniors that took part in it. The legacy of the seniors will be having been thrust into significant playing time as freshman and suffering through an initial 5-10 season. From the bumps and bruises of that initial season, Milford has evolved from non-competitive team to one of the top teams in the State. It is those seniors that led the way on Thursday and Friday, as Milford earned road victories at Sussex Central and Laurel.
“This is a very special group of seniors, they have been playing together since they were in sixth and seventh grade. They’re so dedicated, they’re so committed, it’s like having coaches on the field,” Fleming-McPike said. “They are very team oriented, it’s not like one person is going to do it all. It’s about what is best for the team.”
While this may have been the last regular season home game for the seniors, it is highly likely that the now 11-1 Buccaneers will be hosting a playoff game. It is a prospect that Fleming-McPike is relishing. She also knows that it has been the help of her assistant coaches, Dawn Robinson and Brittany Blacksten for the program to get to this point. “I can’t begin to imagine where we would be without Brittany and Dawn,” Fleming commented. “They are fantastic coaches and it’s because of them that we are where we are. There is no way that we are doing any of this without them.”
Milford will travel to Cape to battle against the top ranked Vikings this Friday, with face-off set for 6 o’clock.
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