By TJ Millman
They haven’t all been pretty, but so far they have all been wins for the Milford Bucs Lacrosse Team. After winning the season opener at rival Lake Forest, Milford came back with a 2-0 week, picking up wins against conference opponents Woodbridge and Delmar. Three games in, Milford looks like what they are, a team of young players with tons of talent who are finding their way on the varsity lacrosse field.
“We only have 3 seniors on our roster, and a good amount of our guys are freshman and sophomores as well. It tickles us as coaches because we think about what the future is going to look like with these young guys developing over the next 3 years, and right now it’s all about helping these talented young players develop into complete lacrosse players,” Milford Head Coach Blake Faulkner said.
Against Woodbridge, Milford managed to pull out a sloppy 9-3 victory in a game riddled with turnovers and missed shots. The Bucs relied on junior Jonathan Gaglione and sophomore Alex Herka to carry the load down the stretch. Gaglione finished with 3 goals and an assist, and Herka had 2 goals and an assist as well. The remaining goals were scored by freshman Bryce Wells (2), freshman Matt Hague (1), and freshman Landan Hajek (1). Assists were from Gaglione, Herka, and sophomore Conor Christie.
Milford had to wait 3 long days to get back on the field against conference opponent Delmar, and the Bucs were hungry to show how they are truly capable of playing. Milford looked like a different team from the opening faceoff, sharing the ball around, and played significantly more like a team than they did earlier on in the week.
“Our kids realized it. We would never take anything away from Woodbridge because they came out and played us hard for the entire game, but we as a team did not play the way that we are capable. No matter what the score is, we have to play the proper style of lacrosse that we know how to play, and we played that tonight,” Faulkner said.
One player who really stood out was freshman midfielder Bryce Wells. Wells won 20 out of his 25 faceoffs, played crease on the man-down squad, and single-handedly cleared the ball on several occasions.
“We knew Bryce was going to do one thing, and that was work hard. That has been the story of this kid since he started playing sports. We have been fortunate enough to take some time and work on his mechanics a little bit, and he has taken that and run away with it. The kid is like a sponge for knowledge. He takes in everything we tell him, and his lacrosse IQ makes him a kid that we can trust going forward. I’m looking at a freshman class with kids like Landan (Hajek), Matt (Hague), Corey (Messick), and Bryce (Wells), and as a coach I can’t help but smile,” Faulkner said.
Wells said that a lot of his comfortability comes from his teammates that he has around him on the field.
“It makes it easier for me to do my job with Jon (Gaglione) and Alex (Herka) on the wings. When I see those guys to my left and right, I know that I just have to do my job and those two will make good things happen,” Wells said.
Milford was led in scoring by Conor Christie who finished with 3 goals and 3 assists. Christie has had Delmar’s number in his young career, and is great at finding soft spots in the Wildcat zone defense. Milford’s remaining goals were scored by Gaglione (3), Hague (3), Herka (3), and Messick (1). Assists were from Christie (3), Herka (2), and Hajek (1).
Milford returns to action on Wednesday, April 11 at home against Indian River at 7:00 PM.
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