By TJ Millman
“It’s frustrating. Getting beat by your rival down the street never feels good, but this is not a team that quits. We are going to get back to work Monday, and we are going to keep improving. We never quit. We gave 100% effort, and that is what is going to make us a better team. We have to take our lumps today, let it hurt, and then it’s time to pick ourselves up. Silvara (Santiago) showed that heart in the midfield and so did Jessie (Donovan). Anna (Sollie) up front gave us everything she had. Alicia (Strack) was literally throwing her body in front of the ball to make saves. We aren’t where we want to be, but the effort that we exemplify here is what is going to get us there. We aren’t going to win every game, but you can be sure that we are going to leave everything that we have on that field.”
If there is a better way to take a 7-0 loss from your cross town rival and make it into a motivational speech, feel free to let me know. That was Milford Girls Soccer Coach Donovan Howard after his team was handed a 7-0 defeat from Lake Forest. Milford managed to get 3 shots on net and played a majority of their game in the defensive end.
Lake Forest started the game with a goal in the first 20 seconds, and after that Milford managed to stall out the scoring of the visiting Spartans. Strong play from Milford goalie Alicia Strack was instrumental in halting the scoring, and she played most of the game under a barrage of shots. Strack stared down almost 20 shots before eventually leaving the game due to a collision with an incoming Spartan forward, and her aggressive play cut out many Lake Forest scoring opportunities.
Milford was playing without star player Melina Hudson, who usually quarterbacks the team from the midfield, but Howard would not allow that to serve as an excuse for his team.
“We are not making any excuses. We got beat. Melina or no Melina, Lake was the better team and they beat us straight up. This is high school, and it’s about education. We don’t make excuses, we find ways to get better, and we never give up,” Howard said.
Milford midfielder Silvara Santiago was all over the field, doing her best to keep the ball out of the defensive end, and was able to hit forward Anna Sollie on a few long balls that led to shots on net. Still, Milford was beat in all facets of the game.
“We were playing a high line, and that could have been on me, but we needed to keep our defense and our midfield a little closer together and try to move the ball faster. Even if our players aren’t quite where they need to be to master the scheme, we need to continue to pass the ball and work on our spacing. We aren’t here to just kick the ball forward and hope for the best. That’s not teaching them anything. It’s just going to be a learning experience,” Howard said.
However the game ended, one thing is for certain. Howard’s team is not going to stop, and they are only going to get better. Milford has two home games this week on Tuesday, March 27 and Thursday, March 29. They are against Dover and Delmar respectively, and both games kick off at 4 PM.
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