Last season, Milford field hockey did some big things, not only posting their third consecutive

season with a winning record, but making the playoffs for the second straight year.

The Lady Bucs added to their wins in the DIAA field hockey state tournament. Milford finished 2016 with an impressive 13-2 record, advancing to the state tournament. They took down Concord in the opening round off a Rajene Bowe overtime goal, but fell to eventual state champs Delmar in a game the Lady Bucs trailed in by only a goal at halftime.

Entering a new season, expectations are high for this talented team. A strong returning group, along with some sophomores and freshman new to the team, has been hard at work preparing.

“The first couple of weeks we really honed in on fundamental skills and our basic principles,” said Milford head coach Andrea Fleming. “We look pretty fundamentally sound and will continue that as the season moves forward.”

While preseason is used to improve skills and focus on particular parts of the game, it’s also a

time for teams to grow and become family.

“Another big emphasis is coming together as a team, working with and for each other,” Fleming

said. “This team is already such a tight-knit group, which allows for a very intense but fun,

positive team culture. The girls respond very well to being pushed hard, and are always there to

encourage and pick each other up.”

With 12 returning players and three making the jump from JV, the Lady Bucs should have no

trouble finding their stride, despite missing some key players. Milford lost eight seniors to graduation, including Bowe, Megan Fry, Daphne Leighty, Katelyn Melvin, Deja Rodriquez- Santiago, Hayden Shockley, Margaret Sollie and Megan Wolfe.

Many returning players are experienced, featuring seven seniors; Leah Barnett, Darby Brennan,

Kaylee Groce, Cameron Quinn, Anna Sollie, Emily Sylvester and Brianna Wells. Also back are

juniors Vanasha Daniels, Allie Davis, Jessica Donovan, Silvara Santiago and Emma Shockley.

There’s reason to be excited about this year’s group and their chances at doing even more in 2017.

The Lady Bucs will open their campaign Friday, Sept. 8 at Sussex Tech at 7 p.m. Milford will

open their home schedule Friday, Sept. 15, hosting Delaware Military Academy.