By Kevin Eickman
Very little went wrong for the Milford Buccaneers lacrosse team last season, as they ended their season with a 14-1 record and as Henlopen South Champions. Following a season opening 11-8 defeat at Lake Forest, Milford knew that a win in their home opener against Indian River was imperative. A loss this past Wednesday and there would be little question that self doubt might begin to creep in for the Buccaneers.
Milford started the game off with a solid first half, led by a goal from Cohen Bonneville. The Milford junior who would net a game high four goals was nothing but solid in a game that the Buccaneers could not afford to lose. Milford came out on the attack early and took advantage of the opportunities that they were presented. “They were [backing] off a lot, so it was giving us a lot of good looks,” Bonneville stated. Thanks to the fast start, Milford was able to take an 8-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, Milford would eventually extend the lead to what looked to be an insurmountable 12-6 advantage. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, Indian River was not finished yet. They began to slowly chip away at the Milford advantage. Thanks to the offense being able to kill some clock and a defense that managed to hold together, Milford would eventually walk away with a 12-10 victory.
Second year coach Blake Faulkner knows that defense is an area where some work needs to be done. “A lot of it comes down to communication, they are still trying to fight through that,” Faulkner said. “We have a lot of moving parts with our mid-fielders, they’re still trying to learn to play defense the right way. A lot of them have that offensive mindset, but we are teaching them that they need to play a little bit of defense too.”
Milford did a lot of work following their loss to Lake Forest. One area that required attention was that of faceoffs. Milford struggled in the opener and it was an area that they addressed in the week following the loss. Senior Chase Taylor produced a solid game against Indian River. “Chase was a little more calmer, he was very good on his clamp and made sure he got the ball out,” Faulkner stated. “There are still some things we need to work on, where you pinch it, that sort of thing.”
The loss to Lake Forest to open the season, gave Milford a great deal to work on over Easter break. It was time that Milford took advantage, knowing that dedication and effort go a long way to improving play. “We broke down the film that we had from last week and we just kind of went through everything with everybody to make sure. Look, this is what we need to do on offense, this is what we need to do on defense,” commented Faulkner. “We started to see that more over the break and it carried into the week.”
Injuries have hit Milford a bit hard this season, making the cohesion that they are trying to accomplish a bit difficult at times. The Buccaneers got a boost with the return of senior Mark Henderson. Although he saw limited action in the game, he still managed to tally two goals for the Buccaneers. “He’s just a presence, in more than one way. He’s talking to the guys, making sure they know where they are going,” Faulkner said. “He kind of takes the pressure of a lot of other people, because Mark demands that kind of attention.”
Things will not get any easier for the Buccaneers this week as they will host a 4-0 Delmar team that made quick work of Lake Forest this past Friday. Milford will need to continue their improvement, if the hope to keep pace with the undefeated Wildcats. The game starts at 7 pm.