By Kevin Eickman
Just 28 days ago it had all gone wrong for the Milford Lacrosse team. Still trying to find their form, the Bucs traveled down to Dagsboro to face off against Indian River. Things seemed to be going according to plan as Milford entered the fourth period of the game with a seemingly comfortable 7-5 lead. IR was not about to go quietly however and earned a hard fought and well-deserved victory.
“When we lost to them last time we were pretty upset,” Coach Blake Faulkner commented. “IR played well but we did not give it our best and we paid a huge price for it.”
This past Wednesday Milford had a chance for revenge. With Indian River coming to town the Bucs not only had a chance to avenge their earlier defeat, they had a chance to lock down the Henlopen South title and the automatic State Tournament bid that goes along with it.
Milford got off to a fast start on offense, testing the Indian River defense with precision passing and solid ball control. Milford was in control for large portions of the first quarter, the only problem was that they could not put the ball into the net. While a few shots rattled off the posts and crossbar, the real impediment to Milford getting a tally was IR keeper Samuel Miltner. The Indian River Keeper was solid throughout the game and in constant communication with his players.
“Miltner is one of the better goalies you are ever going to see. He has great reflexes and knows the game well. Believe me, when you put one past him you have earned it,” Faulkner stated.
Thanks to the resiliency of the Indian River defense, the game remained scoreless through much of the first quarter. That all changed in an instant as IR tallied the game’s first goal off a fast break. With 3:43 remaining, the Indians tookthe 1-0 lead. It was the last time Milford trailed.
Less than a minute later Buccaneer junior Alex Herka ripped one into the upper right hand corner of the net, that Miltner could do nothing about. It was the first of six goals for Herka on the evening, who gave most of the credit to his teammates.
“It’s all about passing and flow, we do a lot of work to set up a shot. It’s not just one guy scoring a goal, it’s the whole team working as one unit that gets the goal,” Herka stated.
Herka scored his second goal less than a minute later to edge the Buccaneers in front 2-1, this time finding the upper left hand corner of the goal. He added his third tally not long after. Milford stayed on the offensive even as they dealt with a man down situation in the final two minutes of the first quarter. The Bucs third goal came on a break as senior Jon Gaglione crossed a pass to junior Conor Christie. With 1:07 remaining in the opening stanza Milford entered the second quarter with a 4-1 advantage.
While Indian River played hard throughout the game, every time they closed the gap the Buccaneers responded. Besides Herka’s six, Christie recorded four, Gaglione 2 and junior Charlie Hayes one. Milford defeated Indian River 15-8 to clinch their third consecutive Henlopen South Championship.
The victory moved Milford to 9-4 with two games remaining in the regular season.
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