By Kevin Eickman
This past Wednesday Milford lacrosse had a chance to make history, become the first Milford squad to win the Henlopen South championship. Hosting a determined Delmar squad, the Buccaneers continued a battle that had begun with the first game of the season.
Both teams came ready to play and the battle was nip and tuck throughout, with no team ever gaining more than a two goal advantage. The visiting Wildcats confounded Milford for long stretches of the game. Using four long sticks almost exclusively, Delmar forced Milford out of their game and had them pressing more often than not.
“This was one of those nights where we would have liked to have had it back a little bit on defense,” coach Faulkner stated. “We played a little sloppy all around, one thing we have to do is start finishing shots.”
One of the larger issues Milford seemed to have was difficulties with ground balls. All game long when the ball was on the turf, Delmar’s junior midfielder Andrew Blewitt would head down the field looking for a pass. On numerous occasions Delmar was successful in getting the ground ball and finding an open man. The result was numerous odd man advantages for the visitors, that could have resulted in a Delmar blowout. Luckily for Milford junior Clay Stevenson was there repeatedly the entire game. Stevenson turned back 18 shots on the evening and may have had one of the best games he has ever played.
The teams would enter the locker room with Delmar leading 5-4 and Milford searching for answers as to how to solve the Delmar riddle. When the second half started Delmar was quick to extend their advantage, scoring just two minutes in to double their advantage. Things looked to be getting bleak for Milford, as they committed a penalty almost immediately after giving up the goal.
Milford was able to survive the man up and not soon after found themselves enjoying a man advantage, that they were able to take advantage of. Senior Matt Viramontes scored his third goal of the game midway through the third quarter, as the Buccaneers closed the gap to one.
Once again the Milford nemesis that was Blewitt ,would find wide open space and a lapsed Milford defense as he headed towards the Milford goal. Looking to his right, Blewitt found a teammate who easily deposited the ball over Stevenson’s right shoulder. The Buccaneers prevented any further damage as the third quarter came to an end, killing off a man down situation and keeping the game with reach at 7-5.
The Buccaneers got on the board early as senior Zach Heesh scored less than a minute into the games final stanza. From there it was all about chasing the equalizer for the Buccaneers. Suddenly all the mistakes that Milford had made mattered little any more, all they needed was a goal to be on equal footing. With time winding down it looked as if Milford would not be able to square matters, finally the game had reached it’s final minute and still Milford trailed.
Just as it looked as if the game was over, junior Mark Henderson let go with a rocket from 15 yards out, finding the back of the net and setting off a Milford celebration. With just 57 seconds to go, it looked as if the game was headed for overtime. While it may have looked that way, Mr. Blewitt had other ideas. After Delmar had won the face off, they called a timeout to set up one last play in regulation.
“We knew they would be going to him, we probably just jumped on him a little too quick and got out of position a bit,” stated Faulkner. Hewitt dodged left and then as he was diving right, while falling to the ground let go a shot that found the lower right hand corner of the net. With that goal, Delmar had secured the 8-7 victory.
As a result of both teams having identical records in the Henlopen South, they will meet for a third time to determine who will reign as champion. The game will be this Wednesday at Cape Henlopen, face off is set for 7 pm.