There are dates Milford circles on the schedule as soon as the calendar comes out. One thing for certain is that when they see Lake Forest on the schedule, they look forward to it. This past Thursday the Bucs hosted the Spartans on a brisk autumn night with a stiff breeze blowing through the pitch.
Reeling from a five game losing streak, there was more on the line than just bragging rights, the Buccaneers were looking to steady the ship and get back to the winning ways they enjoyed earlier in the season. It was evident from the start that this was a determined Milford squad.
Milford demonstrated little doubt of what the game plan was from the opening whistle. Attack, attack, attack. The Bucs put Lake on the defensive immediately, barley missing the game’s first goal in the opening minutes as a Milford strike hit off the top of the cross-bar.
“We needed to score some goals and get our confidence back. We knew that we would be more skilled than Lake and as long as we came out with some intensity, we would be able to put them under constant pressure. I thought the starters did a great job of setting that intensity and our attacking players did a good job of putting pressure on their goal,” stated Coach Todd French.
The Bucs’ opening goal came in the games 22nd minute as junior Samuel Dominquez found the back of the net. The goal served to increase Milford’s confidence as they continued to attack. Sophomore Brandon Zelaya-Hernandez doubled the Bucs’ advantage just before halftime as he scored on an assist from senior Ander Gutierrez-Perez in the games 38th minute.
Milford closed out the scoring as sophomore Aaron Sollie scored midway through the second stanza. Milford held firm with their 3-0 advantage even with a key defensive player, sophomore Luke Bogan, absent. When asked about compensating for not having Bogan, French responded, “Missing a standout player like Luke Bogan would hurt any team. Manny Carranza, our other captain, stepped up and played Luke’s position in this match. I thought Manny did an excellent job especially for never having played that position before. Our entire defense did a great job managing the game without their leader. Getting our 6th shutout of the season in the absence of one of the best defenders in the state really says something about our team’s defense as a whole.”
The fact that Lake is a big rival was not lost on French. “ The kids all know each other and have played with and against each other for a long time,” ha said. “It creates an extra dynamic to the game. Fortunately for us, we have had the upper hand in this matchup for some time now. We would like to continue winning this game for many years.”
One of the key factors in Milford’s preparation for the game was the fact that they had an entire week of practice to get ready for Lake. It was a key element in the game as French explained, “Having a week off after suffering a long losing streak was beneficial. We were able to take a step back and regroup. All of the players are still motivated to end this season with some big wins and this week of practice was a healthy start to these last four games.”
The victory improved Milford’s record to 7-5 on the season with three games left to play. The next one will be this Tuesday at Dover before hosting Cape Henlopen this Thursday on senior night. These are both games which French believes will go a long way towards how this season is going to be defined. “Our next 2 matches will help define how this season is viewed,” he said.
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