By TJ Millman
The Milford Boys Lacrosse Team made their 4th state tournament appearance in 5 years, and for the 4th time in 5 years they are also making a first round exit. The Bucs lost to St. Andrew’s in the first round of the DIAA State Tournament this past week by a score of 18-6. Milford had 2 goals from junior Jonathan Gaglione and freshman Landan Hajek. Junior Jordan Passwaters and sophomore Conor Christie each added a goal as well.
Both teams started the game playing carelessly, turning the ball over and taking bad shots, but as St. Andrew’s began to learn from their mistakes, Milford continued to struggle.
“We played sloppy early, we played sloppy in the middle, and we played sloppy in the end,” Milford head coach Blake Faulkner said.
Though blunt, what Faulkner said was true. The young Bucs squad seemed to shrink in the moment, turning back to bad habits that had plagued them early in the season. The offense struggled with making good decisions, and the defense got caught watching the ball as their opponents cut to open space. Milford also allowed their emotions to get the best of them early. The Bucs were on the receiving end of a few close penalty calls early in the game, and the team folded in the face of adversity.
Senior goalie Shane Gaglione played well, but with 12 saves even his numbers were a little lower than normal in his last game in a Milford uniform.
“I feel bad for him because we wanted to make sure he and (Nick) Slonacher went out on a good note. Shane gave us the best that he had as much as he could, and we’ve been very fortunate the last six years combined with good goaltending (from Gaglione and his predecessor Clay Stevenson). It’s going to be tough to replace Shane,” Faulkner said.
Though Slonacher and Gaglione will be tough to replace, Milford is in a pretty good space with only two graduating seniors. The Bucs return all of their high-powered offense led by Christie, Gaglione, sophomore Alex Herka, Hajek, and Passwaters. Herka was a top scorer on this year’s team, and his absence due to injury was prominent during the Bucs’ final game. Milford struggled with depth at the midfield, and Herka is normally a mainstay on the field. Milford freshman Bryce Wells also showed a lot of growth during the season and will be an important part of next year’s campaign.
Faulkner did not have much to say after the game, but when asked about how this loss can impact his team moving forward, he had this to say.
“We’re young, and I hope these guys can remember this feeling and use it for next year. This isn’t something that we want to feel again, and it’s up to us how we bounce back. We have a lot of questions we need to answer, and we need to answer them fast,” Faulkner said.
Milford ends the season with a record of 12-5, a Henlopen South Championship, and a bitter taste in their mouths.
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