By TJ Millman
The Buccaneers crossed the first name off of their list this past Wednesday, getting revenge against a Lake Forest team that swept them 2-0 last season. As Head Coach Blake Faulkner pointed out, “The kids definitely remembered how last year went, and it felt good to get a win to start the season off.” The Buccaneers more than returned the favor by dominating the Spartans en route to an 18-4 victory.
The opening minutes set the tone as sophomore Jon Gaglione won the opening faceoff, and the Bucs took control in the offensive zone. After a minute of setting up the offense, Gaglione found senior Cohen Bonneville who got things rolling with the first goal of the game. On the following faceoff, Gaglione won again and this time kept it himself for a quick follow-up goal. The Bucs rode this momentum into halftime with a comfortable 13-2 lead.
While Jon Gaglione anchored the offense, his older brother Shane Gaglione held things down on the defensive end of the field. Shane is a junior who is getting his first season as the starting varsity goalie. He saved 8 shots and only allowed 4 goals with a strong 67% save percentage. When asked about his goalie Faulkner said, “I think he played well. I’m sure there are a few shots that he would like to have back, but he did what we needed him to and got us a win.”
Gaglione was also helped out by some solid defensive play from both his defenders and midfielders. Milford’s midfield defense has often been an area of weakness, and this year’s team looked noticeably better with regards to the amount of effort needed at the defensive end.
After a 13-2 opening half, the Buccaneers’ scoring slowed down as they began to cycle in different players and worked on playing more as a team. The first half was full of scoring, but at times players were relying solely on their individual talent to get things done. Individual talent can only get you so far when going up against some of the tougher competition in the state, and it was a smart move by Faulkner to use the second half as a chance for improvement at the team level.
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One thing that was evident was the overwhelming amount of talent in Milford’s underclassmen. 11 of the Bucs’ 18 goals came from two freshmen and a sophomore. Freshman Connor Christie chipped in three goals with two assists, freshman Alex Herka added four goals with one assist, and sophomore Jon Gaglione led the way with four goals and five assists.
Even though it was the underclassmen scoring the goals, Milford’s seniors provided a lot of support that can go unnoticed on the stat sheet. Senior Cohen Bonneville was a machine clearing the ball for the Bucs, often running the full length of the field. Bonneville also managed to add three goals and two assists himself. Senior Dallas Rhodes played an incredibly unselfish game, always finding his open team mates while still scoring two goals and assisting twice. Senior Don Scott, played airtight defense the entire game and scored one goal for the Bucs. Lastly, senior Kaje Tiggs-Reynolds got on the score sheet with a perfect bounce-shot goal late in the game. “We are very fortunate. We have a good young group, with talent and leadership at the senior level as well,” Faulkner said.
The win is a step in the right direction for the Bucs, whose overall goal for the season is to make some noise in the state tournament. The next stop on Milford’s Revenge Tour is Wednesday, March 28 against Indian River. The game is at Indian River and the opening face-off is scheduled for 7 PM.