By TJ Millman
It has hardly felt like a spring sports season so far, with wind and snow every week, and the loss of practice time was evident when the Milford Bucs Lacrosse Team traveled to Lake Forest to open up their season this past Friday. The Bucs managed to squeak out a 17-11 victory, but both teams showed some beginning of the season rust.
“It took us a little bit of time to get going. We haven’t been able to get on the field for almost a week, and we had some of our starters just coming back from injury as well. It’s really about ironing out the little things. Unfortunately we don’t have all that much time to get there with two conference games next week, but we’ll get it all put together. What you saw tonight was just us shaking off the rust and working on making better decisions with the ball,” Milford Head Coach Blake Faulkner said.
While players did show some rust, Milford midfielders Jonathan Gaglione and Alex Herka carried the Bucs to victory on the back of standout performances. Gaglione, a junior, led Milford in points last year and is used to having the spotlight shone on him during the season. He scored 5 goals and also won all 21 of his face-offs on the night.
Herka, a sophomore, had a career night scoring 7 goals and adding an assist for a total of 8 points. While Herka was a big part of the Bucs success last season, this is one of the first times where he has really shown his ability to take over a game. He was unstoppable driving to the cage, and every shot was placed just out of the goalie’s reach. While fans in the crowd may have been surprised by Herka’s performance, his coach was not.
“We knew this kid was going to explode at some point and time, and I guess he chose the first night. Hopefully this is something that he keeps up for the entire season. With his skill set and athleticism the sky is really the limit for this kid,” Faulkner said.
Herka was all smiles after the game and was very animated in his post-game interview.
“We were all feeling it tonight. We played together, executed when we needed to, and man it just feels so good to get the dub. We practice hard for this. Games like this make you feel like you can’t lose. When you have the teammates that I have, and we play together like this, it makes you feel unstoppable,” Herka said.
Milford goalie Shane Gaglione looked strong in net, making 20 saves, and sophomore defender Ryan Johnson stood out for the Bucs. Johnson pulled a tough task in being asked to guard Lake Forest standout Carter Kenton and kept Kenton in check as much as possible. A kid like that is always going to get some goals, but Johnson did a good job of pressuring Kenton and keeping the damage to a minimum.
Milford goals were scored by Alex Herka (7), Jon Gaglione (5), Conor Christie (2), Matt Hague (2), and Landan Hajek (1). Hajek, Christie, Herka, and Jordan Passwaters each added 1 assist. Milford has their next home game on Thursday, March 29 against Delmar at 7 PM.
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