By TJ Millman
It was a cold and windy this past Friday afternoon, but no one told the Milford Girls Soccer Team. The Bucs hosted a Delcastle High School team that went 7-8 last season in a pre-season scrimmage to get both teams ready for their upcoming season openers, and it was all Milford, all game long. The Bucs kept the ball moving, something that was noticed by Milford Head Coach Donovan Howard.
“I told the girls before the game…Soccer is fun when everyone is passing the ball. We keep the ball moving and good things will find a way to happen,” Howard said.
The Bucs kept the ball moving early, expertly navigating through the midfield and sending long balls in behind the Delcastle defense. The Delcastle backline managed to hold the Bucs for a while, but after 25 minutes the levees finally broke and Milford was able to score on a second chance opportunity. Minutes later, Milford scored on another long ball from the midfield. A majority of the passes were sent in by senior Melina Hudson and junior Silvara Santiago, and on the receiving end of the passes was senior forward Anna Sollie.
This year’s Bucs team is going to have a tough task, replacing 10 seniors from last year. Of those 10 seniors, 3 were all-conference, and over half were starters for last year’s squad. This year, Milford will have to rely on the only 3 seniors on the roster, Melina Hudson, Victoria Clough, and Anna Sollie to help carry the weight of a young team.
In the scrimmage, Hudson and Santiago managed the midfield alongside junior Jessie Donovan, pressuring the Delcastle players relentlessly, as well as putting the ball into open space for other Milford players to run on to. Santiago also took the corner kicks on the day, and was sending perfect balls into the box.
If the Bucs made any mistakes, it was getting complacent on the defensive end. The Milford defenders were playing up, as a team that has possession as often as Milford did usually does, but they managed to get gouged up the middle on a few occasions by a Delcastle long ball. Still, when the Bucs backs were against the wall, sophomore goalie Alicia Strack stepped up and cut the ball out for her team.
Though Milford is replacing 10 seniors, the Bucs are looking to improve on their own play first.
“Ultimately, we want our girls to have fun, learn, and enjoy each other. We want to try every day to improve ourselves as individuals and as a team, and in the end the rest will take care of itself,” Howard said.
Milford finished last season at 7-8, and will begin this year’s campaign on Thursday, March 22. The game is away at Poly Tech at 4:00 PM. Milford’s first home game is Saturday, March 24 at 11 AM against rival Lake Forest.
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