By TJ Millman
Thirty-five days after handing Milford an 18-8 loss, the Indian River Indians found themselves playing an entirely different team at Brigg’s Stadium. This past Wednesday, Milford beat the Indians by a score of 19-9, reinserting themselves into the race for the Henlopen South Title. Milford sophomore Jon Gaglione led all scorers with 5 goals, and senior Dallas Rhodes led all players in assists with 4. Goalie Shane Gaglione continued his phenomenal season with 25 saves, anchoring his team when IR would gain momentum.
From the opening faceoff it was obvious that Milford remembered their first game of the year against IR. As all lacrosse games do, the game started with a faceoff. This time however, the game, for IR at least, ended with the faceoff. Jon Gaglione dominated IR in the faceoffs and kept the Indians from any scoring chances for the majority of the first half.
“I feel like I set the tempo of the game. When I win the faceoffs, we score. When I start losing the faceoffs, they score. I was pushing myself even harder this game because lately we have been starting off slowly, and I knew it was up to me to get things started early,” Gaglione said.
The Bucs cruised into halftime with a 16-2 lead, and Head Coach Blake Faulkner attributes this to his team’s progress, as well as their hunger to get revenge on IR. “This was an important game to our guys. We needed this win to keep on track for our goals this season, and we all remembered how this game went earlier in the year. That being said, I think it also just shows how much we have improved. We are really hitting out stride, and now we just need to figure out how to put an entire game together,” he said.
This was again an issue for the Bucs as they let IR begin to creep back into the game in the second half. It is easy for a winning team to grow complacent, especially with a 14 goal lead at halftime, but for Milford the problem seemed to be two-fold. Not only were players looking more relaxed, they also allowed IR to take them out of their game. Milford’s offense which had run so smoothly in the first half began to lose its cohesion, and players started to make unforced errors.
IR capitalized on these mistakes and managed to outscore the Bucs by a score of 5-1 in the third quarter. As IR began to gain momentum, Milford relied on their safety in the net, Shane Gaglione. Gaglione repreatedly stuffed wide-open shots and kept the lead safe while his team worked out their issues on the other end.
Milford did get things back on track as the game ended, scoring the last two goals of the game, and showed that they can be a real competitor this year. When Milford s clicking on all cylinders, they are a high-energy team with a lot of young talent. Their offense is explosive, their defense is oppressive, and when all else fails, they have a brick wall blocking the net. If the Bucs can string together 4 quarters of their best lacrosse, the sky is the limit.
Milford plays Delmar this week at home on Wednesday, May 10, and a win will put them in a position to win the Henlopen South Title. At worst they would end up playing IR in a tie-breaker match for the South. The opening faceoff is set for 7 PM.
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