By TJ Millman
As the 2017-2018 school year comes to an end, the Delaware spring sports season has also ended. Milford had 48 wins, 2 southern conference championships, and 2 state tournament appearances. The 2 southern conference championships came from lacrosse and tennis, and the two state tournament berths were lacrosse and softball. The lacrosse team finished with the most wins, 12, but just like the softball team, was ousted in the first round of the tournament.
Milford baseball had a lot of spots to fill from last year, and the young Bucs were an interesting team to watch. They lost to a 4-13 Lake Forest team by 6 runs, but lost by one run in the 7th inning to state semi-finalists Cape Henlopen and Dover High. Milford’s biggest problems were relief pitching and fielding. The Bucs had 50 errors over 18 games and only one game had no errors at all. Milford’s two mainstays on the mound were junior southpaw Brock Hilligoss and sophomore Chad Reichhold, but when those two had to come out, the ball started to get put in play. It was not a matter of throwing strikes, Milford had a stable of pitchers to get the ball across, but Milford’s relief was hittable, and this was trouble for the error prone Bucs. Senior Bryce Greenly was named second team all-state, Reichhold was honorable mention all-state, and senior Caden Oplinger was honorable mention all-state. The Bucs finished 8-10 on the season and will be returning quite a few players for next season.
Milford golf followed up their 8 win season in 2017 with yet another 8 win season. The Bucs’ Golf Team went 8-8 on the season, and despite not winning the regular season conference title, were the highest placing southern conference team at the Henlopen Conference Meet. Senior Kyle Strassle was the medalist in 14 out of his 16 regular season matchups, and won the Henlopen Conference Title for the second year in a row. After finishing 4th in the state last year, Strassle took home 8th this year, finishing 11 strokes off the lead through two days. Losing Kyle will be a big hit, but his brother, sophomore Josh Strassle, will look to pick up his brother’s torch and lead the Bucs next year. Josh also qualified for the state match and finished 42nd.
Milford lacrosse checked off every goal that they had set for themselves this year, right up until their state tournament match-up against St. Andrew’s. The Bucs won the Henlopen South and qualified for the state tournament, but injuries and the inability to perform under pressure cost the Bucs their season. Milford had a prolific offense, averaging 13 points per game, and not a single goal was scored by a senior. This is largely due to the fact that Milford only had two seniors, goalie Shane Gaglione and defenseman Nick Slonacher. Milford’s offense will only get better, with a full off-season of development for a unit comprised of all underclassmen, and will come into next season with a chip on their shoulders after their 12 point state tournament loss. The Bucs finished the regular season at 12-3.
Milford Girls’ Soccer won 3 games in 2018, but the online site has been changed to show only 1 win (note: I am not sure why this happened and am just reporting it as the site shows). Either way, it was a rough season for the Lady Bucs. Having lost 10 seniors to graduation in 2017, almost the entire pitch was full of new faces, and the lack of cohesion showed. Milford Head Coach Donovan Howard kept his positive outlook all season and had good reason to do so. Of the 32 girls listen on the Buc’s website, only 3 are seniors. While no coach would give up on a season, this year proved to be a rebuilding year, and Milford will have the next few seasons to see how the team can develop. Milford Girls’ Soccer finished the season 1-11-1 (3-11-1 before the changes).
It is hard to follow up a state championship, and Milford softball came into 2018 with a bullseye on their backs. The Lady Bucs took a haymaker from every team that they played and still managed to finish the season 9-9 with a state tournament bid. Milford senior Darby Brennan was named second team all-state, junior catcher CJ Kohel was honorable mention all-state, and junior Morgan Petty was honorable mention all-state. Exactly as their record shows, the Lady Bucs were an up and down team all season. When they were on a high, they looked like a top team in the state, and when they were low, they fell victim to errors and mental lapses in judgment. Milford softball made the state tournament as the 16 seed and had to travel to play number 1 seeded Caravel in the opening round. The game started even, but after a couple of innings Caravel opened the game up and cruised to a 5 inning slaughter rule. Milford graduated three seniors: Darby Brennan, Morgan Abbott, and Kalaysia Reynolds.
Milford Boys’ Tennis played their season behind the 8-ball, with only enough players to compete in 4 out of the 5 matches per meet, and had to start every meet with one loss out of five. Still, they managed to double their 2017 win total, moving from 1 to 2, and are hoping to have a better turnout for next year. Milford Girls’ Tennis went 4-8 but still managed to bring home the Henlopen South Title. The Lady Bucs swept the south and did so while only dropping 2 out of 15 matches. Not only did they win the south, but they are also only graduating 1 senior, second doubles player Emily Sylvester. The Lady Bucs are poised to win a few more southern titles for the next couple of seasons.
Milford Boys’ Track and Field doubled their win total from last year, improving for 2 wins to 4, and the Milford Girls’ Team improved from 2 wins to 3. The Milford Boys finished 9th at the Division II State Championship Meet and the girls finished 18th. Milford junior Ritchy Corvil was the Division II State Champion in the shot put as well. Both the Boys’ and Girls’ teams are still growing and are still on their way to returning to their old traditions of being top squads in the state. Milford’s numbers are growing, with 59 athletes this year, and any kid looking to better themselves should still take advantage of the opportunity that is the Milford Track and Field team.
And just like that, that’s all for the Milford High School 2017-2018 sports season. Congrats to all the Milford Buccaneer athletes.
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