Through their first three seasons Conor Christie and Alex Herka have combined to score 265 goals and dole out 132 assists for the Milford boys lacrosse team – a solid total for the duo; however, that’s not how Buccaneer head coach Brent Faulkner will remember the pair.
Faulkner would use the word “leadership” to best describe Christie and Herka, who have been voted as two of the captains by their teammates the past two years as sophomores and juniors.
“Their teammates respect them. The team votes for the captains every year and they’ve been voted captains the last two years,” Faulkner said. “And that really speaks to them. Up until that point (two years ago), we had never really had underclassmen voted captains, so Alex and Conor have really been the two that have jumpstarted that. Their play on the field and how they are off the field, and how they hold other players accountable. Not necessarily being a senior, but being an underclassman and being elected a captain really speaks to how the other players on the team view them.”
Christie and Herka’s leadership on and off the field paid off on December 18 when they each signed letters-of-intent with Eastern University (Pa.) and Arcadia University (Pa.), respectively.
Both schools are Division III institutions which do not offer athletic scholarships, but only academic scholarships.
Christie currently owns a 3.9 grade point average (GPA) as an Education major at MHS. He has been awarded the Presidential Scholarship from Eastern. Herka, a Business major at Milford, has a 3.6 GPA heading into his final semester. He has been awarded the Arcadia University National Presbyterian Scholarship.
Christie, who scored 50 goals and had 34 assists last year as an attacker, is excited about heading to Eastern, which is located in St. Davids, Pa., near Philadelphia.
While he looked at Division III schools around Pennsylvania and Maryland, once Christie found out about Eastern, there was no other place for him.
“I think one of the main things was being close to home,” he said. “Distance was one of the main factors in choosing a school. It’s a beautiful campus. They have a great education program which is what I want to major in. And obviously the lacrosse program, which is a great situation for me.”
Christie will join an Eagles squad that went 12-7 overall in 2019 and won the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) regular season title with a perfect 7-0 mark.
But before that, Christie has a final season to finish off. The Buccaneers, who moved up to Division I, opens their season March 23 against rival Delmar.
Last year’s season opener, a 13-12 win over Delmar, is one that Faulkner remembers vividly for how both Christie and Herka contributed to the one-point victory.
“There are a few times where it’s not necessarily about stats,” he said. “Conor didn’t score a single goal in that game, but he had four assists. He wasn’t really worried about the goal scoring, but he wanted to find everyone else.
“He’s done that on multiple occasions. He had another game against Delmar last year where he had five goals and four assists. He really prides himself on finding other players.
“As for Alex, the one game we knew he was going to be a problem for other teams that we played against and really help us out was that first game (against Delmar),” Faulkner said. “It was a very tight game and I want to say it was 6-5 at half and the final was 13-12 and he had six goals, so he pretty much had half of our goals.”
“And if it hadn’t been for him, it could have been a lot tougher because we really hadn’t settled in to our style yet. It was the first game of the year and we were dusting off the cobwebs, but for the better part of the game offensively and defensively against one of their better players he stepped up in a big way and put us on his shoulders.”
Herka, a midfielder, who excels both offensively and defensively for the Buccaneers, scored 49 goals and had 18 assists last season.
The 6-2, 145-pounder, who has played for 10+ years, enjoys lacrosse’s fast-paced style.
“There’s a lot of contact and I could bring my personality with it,” he said. “It’s not scripted with a playbook, so there’s a lot of mental thinking, quick thinking and all my friends played it.”
Herka also was able to bring the skills that he used playing basketball through the years.
“It helps me a lot on defense, watching the man and the ball at the same time,” he said. “It helps when I jump in the air and make interceptions, being quick on my feet and closing down on defense.”
Although Herka looked at multiple schools, including the University of Delaware, he knew Arcadia was the school for him as soon as he visited the Glenside, Pa., university.
“It was a new team and the coach is new. I liked where his head was and where the team was,” Herka said. “It’s a very small school, so everyone is a family. It was just a good family vibe and I feel like I fit in perfectly with the kids and the staff, and I like how they play.”
The Knights, who also play in the MAC, finished the 2019 season with a 9-9 record overall and were 4-4 in conference play.