The Milford Buccaneers return for lacrosse season preparing to defend their Henlopen South title. Last season a young team proved they could win, but this year they’re looking to take a step forward.

“The experience is there now,” said head coach Blake Faulkner. “Some of the players that have  been seen as young and growing are going to be looked at to take the next step and be ready for the moment.”

One very big change for the Bucs will come between the pipes where the team must fill the spot vacated by All-Conference graduate Shane Gaglione.

“It’s always tough to replace any player that has had a lasting affect on your program and Shane is no different,” Faulkner said. “He’s been a big part of Milford lacrosse and we’re going to miss his presence in goal this year.”

Replacing arguably one of the best goalies in the very competitive Henlopen Conference would be tough for any program, but it’s a problem the Bucs haven’t had in quite a while.

“This is, in a way, is uncharted territory for us,” Faulkner said. “We’ve been very fortunate the last six years to have Shane and before him, Clay Stevenson, so this this is a little different from that perspective.”

Stevenson recently began his junior season at Methodist University after starting 13 games in net for the Monarchs last season. Last year’s starter, Gaglione, is already seeing time in goal as a Chatham University freshman.

“The players we have are up for it and it should be an interesting goalie battle,” Faulkner said. “We have a few guys that are looking to be that next man up in net and all of them are working hard to show the coaches what they have.”

Also eager to show off their skills are the many returnees the Bucs will have on the field at their opener at home against Delmar March 27.

With only two seniors on last year’s team, the 2019 season has the majority of the team unchanged. They return as a motivated group.

“We remember the team that we were last year and, for the most part, we’re returning almost the entire team,” Faulkner said. “Our players want more and they have been preaching that since day one, it’s not about the South or the conference, it’s about wanting more.”

With their season opener around the corner, the Buccaneers have a lot of questions to answer on the field.

“We have a great group of kids and we’re hoping to put our best foot forward to begin the year,” Faulkner said. “We also understand it’s not about what team you are at the beginning of the season, it’s what kind of team you are at the end of the season.

“We have to answer the question, how do we want to be remembered?”