By Kevin Eickman
Coming off a 6-9 season last year and a young team overall, Milford High School field hockey coach Andrea McPike is looking for one thing first and foremost, consistency. “We have a great deal of underclassmen who got thrown into a very competitive Henlopen North last season. The game was much faster for them and we definitely did not remain consistent throughout all our games,” McPike stated.
The goal is to play with the same level of intensity from start to finish for Milford. “We can’t take periods of the game off; we can’t let up. When we let down physically or emotionally, other teams pounce. That has been a real point of emphasis leading up to the start of the season. I honestly believe if we take care of that, the wins will come,” she said.
While Milford may be a younger team, it is not devoid of upperclassmen. McPike believes that her four returning seniors will be able to help the squad’s younger players learn the game and find a rhythm so that MHS can play quality hockey.
Up front, McPike believes that depth will play an important factor in producing offensive pressure. Senior Samantha Jacona will be joined by juniors Natalie Cromer and Beau Davis. Also playing on the attack and midfield will be sophomore Rylee Metzner and freshman Matty Hitchens who will bring both an attack and midfield presence to the team. “Our lines up front are very strong, it’s so wonderful to have that. These girls take it upon themselves to get better at every practice. We are very excited about the possibilities we have up front,” McPike said.
When it comes to the midfield, Milford looks good there as well with senior Summer Davis, junior Olivia Muir, joined by sophomores Emily Thode, Lila Megner and Bay Rothermel. “Each of them brings something unique to the midfield whether it’s Summer with her steady leadership and finesse or Olivia who brings a great pace to the field. Emily has really improved and is very solid defensively. Lila and Bay are very good with the ball, so keep an eye out for them as well,” said McPike.
In goal, the Buccaneers return a pair of sophomores in Melissa Mesidor and Eve Sekscinski. “Both of these girls are becoming better by the day. They are competing and making each other better in the process. They are both very supportive of each other which is very important,” McPike stated.
On defense, look for a whole new group of players in the back with junior Paige Resigner playing center back and anchoring a young backline which will feature fellow junior Karina Sollie. Freshman Carley Mackert and Avery Villaobos are expected to contribute as well. “Paige is the leader in the back, and she will make our younger players better. Defense is definitely the group that is going to have the steepest learning curve, but they have been working hard and I believe in them.”
When asked about the team’s season goals, McPike came back to the number one item on her list – consistency. “It all comes down to playing the whole game, not letting up and learning in the process,” she said.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the season, McPike wanted to make sure the parents were recognized for their hard work as well. “We have had so many changes in scheduling and we have asked a lot of our parents, they have been there every step of the way,” McPike concluded.
Milford will open its season today (Tuesday), as it hosts Woodbridge at 4 pm. Attendance will be limited to two family members per player for home games.