By Kevin Eickman
Much like the stock market, there is nothing like getting in on the ground floor of something when it comes to sports. This year’s version of Milford Boys soccer has the feeling of something special. Faced with the task of moving up to Division I this season, the Buccaneers have gotten off to a 3-0 start with three shutout wins against D-I opposition. Coming off a 5-9-1 record last year, there is a whole new mindset to this Buccaneers squad.
Catching the Milford home opener this Tuesday evening, it was obvious from the start that this is not the same type of Buccaneer soccer team fans are used to seeing. Squaring off against Christiana high school, Milford was on the front foot from the start. With a creative and attacking style, the Bucs rattled the post two times in the game’s opening five minutes.
“We wanted to attack tonight and to be honest that has been our mindset from our first practice,” Coach Todd French stated. “We have a youthful squad that can really push the ball up and we are going to take advantage of that.”
The Buccaneers opened the scoring just six minutes in as junior Aaron Sollie was on the receiving end of a beautiful pass from junior Samuel Dominguez. Sollie’s strike was true and the Buccaneers quickly found themselves leading 1-0. “It’s always important to get that first goal,” French commented. “The guys were out there working hard for it and to come away with a goal so quickly was fantastic.”
Milford kept up the pressure throughout the first half. With Milford playing just three defenders in the back, the attacking style kept Christiana on the back foot for most of the first half. The persistency paid off as junior Luke Bogan connected on a beautiful corner from senior Angel Moreno at the 24 minute mark. The Buccaneers’ advantage doubled to 2-0. A lead that Milford took into halftime.
Constant during the contest was the work of the defensive unit. While Christiana was able to clear some balls through the midfield, the back line hung tough with center midfielder Moreno dropping back to aid as needed. “We have a lot of faith in our defense, with Bogan in the center we are able to play the type of defense we want without giving up too many chances,” French stated.
Playing such an open style requires an agile and heady goalkeeper. Junior Kirk Hammer is filling the role quite nicely and turned in two huge saves during the game. “Kirk has been biding his time and is really starting to come into his own,” said French. “He is really solid back there and seems to be at his best in the biggest moments.”
Milford went on to score three more goals in the second half as junior John Pierre scored in the 53rd minute. Sollie added his second goal in the 56th. Bogan closed out the scoring from 30 yards out in the 75th. Bogan expressed great confidence in his teammates’ ability to step out from the center back position and take the ball up the field. “I know that when I have an opening like that my teammates are smart enough to recognize it as well. They are going to drop back and protect the defensive end while I can get a good crack at goal,” said Bogan.
With the team comprised primarily of eleventh graders, French believes that there is a foundation in place for something special over the next two seasons. “These guys took a lot of bumps and bruises last season, but they learned. They have a command of the strategy we are implementing and I am expecting the improvement in that area to continue,” commented French.
The Bucs traveled up to Smyrna on Thursday, recording a 2-0 victory to increase their record to 3-0. Next up for Milford will be a home game against Seaford this Tuesday evening, set to kick at 6:30.
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