Bowe’s overtime game-winner sends Milford to second round

MILFORD – The Milford Buccaneers’ varsity field hockey team is all too familiar with overtime playoff games.

Last season’s one-and-done in the DIAA State playoffs came in overtime fashion, as Wilmington Christian School hit a game-winner to walk away with a 3-2 victory.

Senior Rajene Bowe was not about to let it happen for a second year in a row.

The No. 6 seeded Buccaneers’ offense, playing host to the No. 11 seeded Concord Raiders (9-3-3), was held scoreless through 60 minutes of regulation time.

“We knew that we were dominating [the game], we just weren’t capitalizing. We just had to stay composed and we knew it would come in at the end,” Bowe said of her team’s hard-fought game.

It only took until the 7:57 mark in overtime for Bowe to get the ball past Concord’s goalie for a game-ending score.

“We just had to think about last year,” Bowe said. “Last year we were in the tournament, went to overtime, and we played a great game but lost. We didn’t want that feeling, and we knew that this is our time. We have eight seniors and we knew that we didn’t want to be done playing. We had to fight and push through.”

Bowe scored one of the Bucs’ two goals in the first round loss of last year’s playoffs, but this time around Bowe’s goal was much more important.

The Buccaneers’ offense out-performed the Raiders in shots and penalty corners, and didn’t need to play much defense throughout regulation.

Junior goalkeeper Leah Barnett didn’t need to even make a save until there was under five minutes remaining in the second half of the game, but it was a clutch game-saving stop for her as it kept Concord scoreless.

“We’re moving on to the second round,” head coach Andrea Fleming said following the 1-0 victory. “That’s our biggest thought, our only concern right now. We stayed composed, they never gave up, worked hard and dominated. And now we’re moving forward and looking to our next game.”

The defensive side of the ball saw big games from the entire back line, and could be credited with the shutout just as much as Barnett.

“I think our defense was solid today,” Fleming said. “They came up big when they needed to. They were fast, they broke down their fast-breaks, they had nice low, solid sticks. Margaret Sollie had a huge game, Deja Rodriguez had a huge game and Brianna Wells too. Our whole back line stepped up big time.”

Milford has not made it to the second round of the State playoffs in 20 years, but the team’s 1-0 victory gives the Buccaneers its seventh shutout of the season.

Milford will be matched up with No. 3 seeded Delmar this Saturday, Nov. 12. Delmar defeated Lake Forest, 5-1, Tuesday in order to advance to the second round.

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

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