Field hockey has tough week

By Kevin Eickman

There are times when you look at a box score and just shake your head when you compare it to the game’s final score, the math simply does not add up. There are games you watch and judging from the flow of play, you simply can’t understand why the effort being put forth on the field is not translating to the scoreboard. A score that would end up with what appeared to be a lopsided 5-0 victory for the visiting Dover Senators.

That was just the case this past Thursday as Milford field hockey battled a visiting Dover team at The DE Turf Complex. While the visiting Senators would get on the board first, just a minute and a half into the first quarter, Milford would go on to dominate play for almost the entire remainder of the period. Time and again Milford would set up shop inside the Dover circle only to come up empty. It was an indication of what was to come for the entire game for the Buccaneers.

The answer for Dover came in the form of defense, while it bent repeatedly, it would not break. Milford made solid passes and had it chances, only to be turned away in the end. “We played exactly the way we wanted to; we passed the ball well through the midfield, but we just couldn’t find the back of the net. Sometimes games go that way and you can’t explain it, you just have to look at how hard you played and know that you left it all on the field,” coach Andrea McPike said.

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One of the downsides of applying pressure is leaving yourself open to the counter-attack, which is where Dover made the difference. It seemed as if every time the Senators had a chance to go forward on the break, they found the back of the net. The score would keep on growing in the favor of Dover as its skilled finishing outweighed the run of play. The result would be a 2-0 lead for Dover at halftime, with Milford left to wonder what had just happened.

The second half would bring more of the same, even as Milford kept on obtaining scoring chances, it simply couldn’t finish. A look at the numbers indicates just how much pressure the Buccaneers had applied. Milford had 14 penalty corners compared to just two for Dover. While Dover outshot Milford, 12-11, it would be the saves by Dover senior keeper Richana Brown that would ultimately make the difference in the game. Brown recorded an astounding 11 saves, some of them spectacular as she recorded the shutout. “I can’t say enough about the Dover defense tonight, in particular Brown. Every time she needed to come up big, she did. She is a top keeper and all you can do is tip your cap to her; she was fantastic tonight,” McPike said.

As the game entered the final embers, Milford tried to get back a goal at the end but simply couldn’t get it done. It was the ending of a tough week, which saw Milford fall to Cape Henlopen to the identical score on Tuesday. While the scores may have been the same, the run of play was quite different as Cape controlled the game throughout. “We really didn’t play our best at Cape, so I was really proud with how the team responded tonight (Thursday). We knew going into the season that there were going to be some bumps in the road and Tuesday was one of them,” McPike said.

With the season winding down, McPike took stock of what her team had accomplished. “With a young team like this you hope to improve and I think that is exactly what we have done. When you compare where we were at the beginning of the season as to where we are now, I am pleased with the progress we have made.”

Some of the players McPike offered praise for were seniors Samantha Jacona and Summer Davis “Those two girls provided solid play, but more importantly leadership. They also have more importantly instructed our younger players to be leaders as well. The contributions they have made to this program will go on long after they graduate, that’s what true leaders do.”

Two sophomores, who will be counted on next season, Paige Reisinger and Olivia Muir also stepped into leadership roles as well. “They really developed this season and we will be counting on them next year to keep on helping us build this program,” McPike said.

With one game remaining, the Buccaneers have a 6-4-1 record and are thus guaranteed a winning season. Milford played a big number of underclassmen this season and expects to reap the benefits of this year’s ups and downs.

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