By TJ Millman
It was Senior Night this past Thursday, and Milford Field Hockey was up against an Indian River team with only two losses on the year. The Lady Bucs did their seniors proud, earning a 2-1 win over the visiting Indians, and putting themselves in a position to keep playing for a chance at a state tournament bid. Goals were scored by freshman Summer Davis and senior Anna Sollie. Senior Darby Brennan assisted both goals.
Earlier in the week, Milford played yearly powerhouse Cape Henlopen. The game was a tale of two halves, with Milford and Cape trading blows in the first half. The teams fought back and forth, and at halftime it was Cape with a 3-2 lead. In the second half, Cape managed to shut out Milford while scoring four goals of their own, and won the game by a score of 7-2.
“Our first half against Cape was phenomenal. We played intensely, answering back when Cape went up 2-1, and we were not afraid to push the ball. The second half got away from us, but it’s something we can learn from and something that we corrected here today against IR,” Milford Head Coach Andrea Fleming said.
Much like their game against Cape, Milford came out swinging against IR as well. The Bucs had 13 corner attempts in the first half alone, but only managed to go into halftime with a 1-1 tie. The Bucs have struggled with capitalizing on scoring opportunities this year, but their fast tempo kept the ball pushing forward, and limited any scoring chances for IR.
This time, Milford would not be outdone in the second half. The Bucs continued to pressure the Indians, and with one minute left senior Darby Brennan decided that her Senior Night was not going to be ruined with a loss. Brennan pushed the ball aggressively down the field, and lifted a ball towards the goal that looked to be going just wide. Senior Anna Sollie got her stick up at the last second and skillfully deflected in the game winner with only 44 seconds left in the game.
For Fleming’s seniors, this gritty finish was something that she expected with everything they have had to endure this season.
“This season has been a grind for our seniors. We had 8 seniors graduate last year, and these girls have really had to step up into some high pressure roles and learn to succeed. I’m so proud of how they handled this season, as verbal leaders and as leaders by example. This team is as close as, if not closer than, any team I have ever coached because these seniors look out for the underclassmen so well. The younger girls feel comfortable coming to them for help, and it really shows the maturity of our leaders as individuals,” Fleming said.
The Bucs now sit at 6-6-1 and have two games left. They play a 4-7-2 Woodbridge team, and then finish their season against 7-5-1 Sussex Tech. Wins in both games will put the Bucs into state tournament discussion, and will move Milford one step closer to their preseason goal of making a tournament run. Milford plays Woodbridge on Tuesday, October 24 and Sussex Tech on Thursday, October 26. Both games are on the road and start at 4 PM.