All-State goalkeeper Turner looking to lead Bucs back to state tourney

MILFORD – Following a 5-10 regular season campaign last season, the Milford High boys’ soccer program missed out on a state tournament bid.

It snapped the team’s two-year streak of DIAA tourney berths.

“This year is definitely motivation for these seniors,” Milford head coach Todd French said. “They know this team is good enough to compete, not only for the South Division but also to make it to the state tournament and make a little noise.”

With only one season left in starting goalkeeper Jaxson Turner’s high school career, he’s motivated to help his team make a return to the Div. II tourney in 2018. And possibly even make a deep tournament run.

“Last year was a failure,” he said. “My sophomore year, we made it and lost the first game and my freshman year we made it and lost the first game. Hopefully this year, it being our last year for the seniors, it motivates us to make a pretty good run in the state tournament.”

Jaxson Turner, shown here making a save during a game last season, will enter his senior year as one of Milford’s top leaders (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“The senior class this year is pretty strong, with the return of Turner who was Third Team All-State keeper and he’ll be a captain,” said French. “We need him to be the ultimate leader of this team, he has the abilities and he knows it – he’s getting all kinds of college looks – and if he has a big season, how far we go could all be depending on how big of a season he has in goal.”

Right now, Turner is the team’s lone captain, but French is looking to name at least one – maybe two – more captains prior to the season-opener in September. He already has his eye on a couple of players who could potentially step up as team captains this year.

“Erens Mondelus, who will be a four-year starter and the return of Sammy Perez, who didn’t play last year because of ineligibility – but he’s back this year, he’s trying to fight for a captain spot as well. He’s one of our top players.”

“I think the team chemistry has been pretty good so far in practice, I think we just need to get some more practices in to bring us closer together and have us playing more like a team,” Mondelus said of the team’s preseason progression.

A transfer from Cape Henlopen – Sam Dominguez – adds talent and depth to an already sound sophomore class for the 2018 Bucs.

“He didn’t play last year, he probably would have been on their varsity roster as a freshman, but he impacts our team in a very good way,” French said of the addition of Dominguez.

A season ago, Milford struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, so being more aggressive down the field is something French hopes his team can work on this year.

“We didn’t score a lot of goals last year, so that’s our main focus,” he said. “I think we’ll have a pretty strong defense this year, so more up the field – midfield through our forwards – is something we’re really focused on in getting everyone in sync.”

The offensive attack for the Bucs will be young this year but the unit will be led by a pair of seniors.

Senior Lensky Legros will likely be Milford’s go-to goal scorer for the 2018 season (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“Lensky Legros is one of our seniors who we’ll definitely be looking to offensively, he should have most of our goals this year if he steps up and is a little more aggressive this year. He has all of the ability, we just need him to be a little bit more aggressive down the field,” French said.

“Erens Mondelus will probably be playing more up top, offensively, this year as well and then three sophomores we’re looking to get goals from – Landan Hajek, Manny Carranza and Aaron Sollie – so our attack will be rather young, but very talented.”

Just 11 days into preseason practices, Milford has already played a handful of scrimmages against talented schools.

“Our first scrimmage was against Caravel – the defending Div. II champs – and we lost 2-1 but it let our guys know we can compete with the best schools in the state, so a lot of positive from that,” French said.

Goals for 2018

“Win the division and make a run in the state tournament, that’s our main goal right now,” said Mondelus.

“Our first goal is to go undefeated through all the Southern Division teams,” French added. “Our biggest competition will be Indian River, like always, Sussex Academy and Laurel. So, if we can have a good record through all the Division II teams, compete for the Southern Division and get our first win in the state tournament in countless years, that would be tremendous for us.”

Milford will play one more preseason scrimmage Thursday, Aug. 30 at home against William Penn before opening the regular season at Caesar Rodney Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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