By Kevin Eickman
Milford field hockey coach Andrea McPike has her team off to a 5-0 start to begin the season. This past week the Buccaneers played two different games. The first would be a 4-0 victory over a 0-4 Dover team, the second would be a 4-3 win over Sussex Academy. At first glance, the home shutout against Dover would look to be the most solid of the two games. After speaking with McPike, it was easy to come away with a different take on how the week went.
Hosting Dover on Tuesday, Milford came out quickly scoring two first quarter goals off the stick of junior Hannah Zimmerman who would end up with a hat trick on the day. Following that, however, Milford fell into a malaise that would last until Zimmerman would find the back of the net five minutes into the third quarter. “You can take a look at the numbers and say it was a solid victory. We squandered opportunities and did not take advantage of our opportunities. That is not what this team is about, we are about getting better, finishing and defending, and while you will always take a win the fact is that we need to be better,” McPike said.
Traveling down to a much tougher Sussex Academy squad on Thursday, even though the score was close, the effort was better. In a back-and-forth battle, it would be Zimmerman again who stood out again. She would net two goals in the game, including one in the fourth quarter which doubled the Milford advantage to 4-2. “Hannah had a great week and has been coming on strongly, game by game. As she has gotten better, so has the rest of the team,” McPike stated.
Milford has a tough pair of games coming up this week, hosting Woodbridge on Tuesday and traveling to perennial power Cape Henlopen on Thursday. While the Woodbridge contest might look like an easy win on paper, McPike understands nothing is a given. “We take everything and everyone very seriously here. It’s not about Cape on Thursday, it’s about every game, every practice. This team is about getting better and playing better with each opportunity.”
Along with a solid week from Zimmerman, seniors Madisyn Hitchens and Erin Dunlap put in solid weeks as well. Also standing out was sophomore Madison Stahl who recorded seven saves at Sussex Academy. “Everyone has been working hard and these players came up big in some key moments for us this week. But it just isn’t them, I think the whole team has been playing their best with the Dover game just being looked at as a learning experience,” McPike concluded “It’s not just a few players that win a game, it’s a team. And that is exactly what we are trying to build here, at team.”
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