Keesler-Evans Shines as Lady Bucs Fall

By TJ Millman

If you were looking for a bright spot in Milford’s 4-1 field hockey loss to Poly Tech last Wednesday, it would have to be the play of sophomore goalie Isabella Keesler-Evans. Bella faced 27 shots, turning away 23, in her first varsity start as the number one goalie. Milford has had the same goalie for the last 4 years, graduate Leah Barnett, and the Lady Bucs found out quickly that they do not have to worry about the play of their new goalie.

“Bella saved a 9-1 game and turned it into a 4-1 game. There was one time where she was left alone against 3 opposing players, and she came up big with the save. Even when her teammates didn’t get back fast enough to recover and let her down, she still stood tall. I expected big things from her because of her work ethic and her drive. She’s always asking questions and looking to improve,” Milford Head Coach Andrea McPike said.

The Buccaneers were outscored 4-1, outshot 27-1, and most importantly outworked on all ends of the field.

“Lack of aggression lost us the game. It affects us everywhere. Lack of aggression on defense keeps us from having offensive transitions. Then when we do get the ball, and we don’t have forwards and midfielders coming to receive passes, the possession breaks down again,” McPike said.

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After Milford’s loss, they had to turn around the next day and play an away game against Dover that they lost 3-2. McPike’s message to her team for that game was to improve their effort in every facet of the game.

“We need to work on our extra effort, our conditioning, sprinting back instead of jogging back on defense, communication, and our aggression. We can’t go into those 50/50 balls at 50% and expect to get them. When you play a team as aggressive as Poly Tech and you only go 50%, you’re obviously going to come out on the losing side,” McPike said.

Despite the losses, McPike still sees a lot of potential in her team.

“I see the potential here. We just need to play confidently in ourselves and stop second guessing ourselves. As far as with possession, we need to keep the ball on our sticks. A lot of our girls are tapping it, and Poly is going to be all over that. They stay low and jump at any chance to take the ball from you. We need to explode forward and move the ball confidently, rather than stopping and panicking about where to go with the ball. We just need to work on the basic things. Playing hard, communicating, and playing together. We have a lot of young girls that are still gaining experience, and as long as they use these games to improve, we have a lot of room to grow,” McPike said.

Milford will have a chance to pick up their first win today, Tuesday, September 18 at home against Seaford. The game is set to start at 4 PM.

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