By Kevin Eickman
Most times when a team loses two games in a week it can be reason for doom and gloom. That is certainly not the case for this young and feisty Milford field hockey team. The Buccaneers faced off against an undefeated buzz saw, hosting Indian River this past Tuesday.
After falling behind early in the first half to the tune of two goals, the Bucs found their way back in the game on goals from senior Olivia Cromer and junior Summer Davis late in the first half to level the score at two as the first half came to a close. The resolve of this young Milford team left coach Andrea McPike pleased.
“We let in 2 pretty early goals and within a minute of each other, and this was after coming out pretty hard. I called a time out to give the girls sometime to collect themselves mentally, make a few adjustments on our corner defense, and to light the fire a little,” said McPike. “Well it worked. They came out of the timeout raring to go and with a very determined mind set. They answered back within the next 7 minutes and with less than 3 minutes in the 1st half tied it up.”
The second half was a scoreless one, with both teams having chances. Milford had the advantage in shots and corners but did not convert them into goals, something the team has been making inroads on improving on.
Milford lost the game in overtime 3-2, but McPike believes that there was a great many positives to come out of the contest.
“I was very proud of the resilience and grit the team showed in this game. Our offense really came alive this game and had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the entire game,” said McPike. “ Overtime was a bit heartbreaking with the close chances to end it that just didn’t go our way. However, the girls learned a lot about themselves this game.” The Bucs showed great resolve in losing to a 7-0 IR team who have been solid all year.
On Thursday Milford traveled to Cape. While Milford did come out on the short end of a 2-0 score, McPike believes that the game was yet another step forward as the loss came against a team boasting a 6-1 record.
“This year we held them to 1-0 until about 10 minutes left in the game. We dominated the first 10-12 minutes of each half but then lost our steam where Cape was able to keep playing at a high level the entire game. However, our girls battled until the end,” commented McPike.
While the pair of losses dropped Milford to 2-4 on the season, McPike can see this very young Milford team coming together. “We’ve come out much stronger as a team and it has given us lots of opportunities to focus on our areas of need,” she stated. “The team continues to improve every practice and game. They’re learning to communicate with each other and each other’s styles of play. They have also continued to grow as a unit and are very self-reflective of their strengths and weaknesses. They want to be held accountable and are willing to hold each other accountable as well.”
The Bucs still harbor hopes of making the State tournament but know that they are going to have to step it up a notch to get it done. “The mentality of raising our level of play each and every day along with hard work and a never give up attitude is what will get us in the tournament. They’re ready to unleash, McPike said.
Milford will host 5-0-1 Smyrna this Thursday with the game set to start at 4 pm.
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