By TJ Millman
As snow fell on Friday afternoon, the sounds of determination cut through the air. You could hear the sound of metal on metal, players calling out assignments, and the collective gasps for air whenever play would stop. This is what a Milford lacrosse practice sounds like under the direction of Head Coach Blake Faulkner. His motto, Actions Not Words, is written on the face of each and every player as they gear up for their 2017 season.
After an uncharacteristic 2016 season in which the Bucs went 5-10, Faulkner and his team are ready to redeem themselves. “Last year was a year where I think everyone can admit that we underperformed considering the talent level that we had. Players who are still on the team remember how tough last year was, and those same players are out to prove something this year,” he said.
Looking at Milford’s season, the road will not be easy. Milford plays some quality opponents in Delmar, Caravel, Archmere, Delaware Military Academy, and Sussex Tech. This schedule is noticeably more challenging than the schedule of other teams in the Henlopen South, and Faulkner set it this way on purpose. “I decided to add some games against opponents that present more of a challenge because I feel that is the best way to know where we stand as a team,” he said.
One challenge the Bucs will face is the loss of 9 seniors from their 2016 campaign. Two of those seniors, Clay Stevenson and Michael Holstein, have even gone on to continue their play at the next level. While there are holes to fill, Milford has an even larger group of seniors, 12 to be exact, which bring experience and maturity to the team. Of those seniors, Cohen Bonneville, Brennan Hajek, Ryan Herka, Michael Judson, Dallas Rhodes, Don Scott, and Kaje Tiggs-Reynolds were all key contributors to the Bucs last season.
A major key to the Bucs success this season is going to be junior Shane Gaglione. Gaglione has spent his last two seasons learning under standout goalie Clay Stevenson, and is finally getting his chance to be Milford’s starting goaltender. Look for Gaglione to have a breakout season in his first full year of varsity lacrosse.
Milford will have a chance to get back to their winning ways on March 22 at home against long-time rival Lake Forest. The opening face-off is set for 7 pm under the lights. Go out and cheer on your Milford Bucs as they begin their quest for redemption. It will be an exciting game as Faulkner said, “We are a very talented team, and the only thing scarier than a talented team is a talented team with a chip on their shoulder.”
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