By Kevin Eickman
Following a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Polytech two weeks ago, the task before the Milford boys soccer team was clear. They had four games remaining and nothing but victories in those four games would give them the opportunity for a tournament spot. Heading into their regular season finally this past Thursday, Milford had won their previous three contest by a combined score of 13-0. While the three wins against Seaford, Woodbridge and Smyrna were important, they knew they had to get the job done on senior night.
“After we lost to Poly we knew we had to win every game just to have a chance to make the tournament,” coach Todd French stated.
Hosting Laurel on Senior Night, Milford made it look easy. Jumping out to the lead just five minutes into the match and never looking back. Dispatching the visiting Bulldogs 9-0 and thereby giving themselves a chance at making the playoffs. Presently Milford would be the 11th seed in the 12 team tournament, but with a week of action still to go it is anybody’s guess how the Buccaneers will fair in their quest.
In the game on Thursday, two seniors demonstrated skills that have made them standouts their entire Milford careers. Forward Peterson Mondelus recorded a hat trick in his final home tilt. A game that was special to him. “Being able to score three goals anytime is great, being able to do it in your final home game is extra special,” Mondelus stated. Talking about his time at Milford, Mondelus who plans to study mechanical engineering in college tipped his hat to his teammates. “This is a real great team to be on, we all pass the ball well and that makes us all better.”
Brandon Gabriel-Perez also closed out his Milford home career on Thursday. Beginning in his freshman season Perez was asked to sacrifice. Quite a skilled offensive player, Perez was asked to make the transition to defense from then coach Ken Outten. For the next four seasons, Perez was solid, if not spectacular while anchoring a solid Buccaneer defense. Perez contributed two assists on Thursday. Asked about his transition to defense, Perez was proud of his time at Milford. “I wasn’t thrilled with it at first, but soccer is a team game and that is where the team needed me,” Perez said. “Everybody likes to score goals, but this made the team better and that is what is important.”
Talking with Coach French, he is very proud of this group of seniors. “This was a great group of seniors, seven guys that have been in the program all four years,” French said. “Most of them have been with the program since I coached JV, to coach them in their final home game is very special.” When asked what their greatest strength was, French was quick to respond “They like each other and that’s important. When you like and trust your teammates it’s very special.”
Milford will not know until next Thursday if they will make the State Tournament, in the meanwhile they will be prepping like they are in. “This is a real good chance to work on our fitness, so we are going to make the most of the opportunity and believe that we will make the tournament.”