Bucs close out regular season with win, look ahead to Henlopen Conference championship

GEORGETOWN – Trailing 5-4 at the half, the Milford High boys’ lacrosse squad used a nine-goal third quarter to close out the 2018 regular season with a 19-15 victory over Sussex Tech Monday, May 14.

Junior Jonathan Gaglione and freshman Landan Hajek each netted five goals for the Bucs (12-3). Senior goalkeeper Shane Gaglione made 19 saves.

“It was really just about playing our game,” Milford head coach Blake Faulkner said of the team’s second-half turnaround against Tech. “We made some fundamental mistakes in the first half, got a little greedy sometimes, and got away from playing our actual brand of lacrosse. I think in the second half we did a much better job of trying to limit the mistakes, getting ground balls and finishing our shots, that kind of stuff.”

Milford, the Henlopen Conference Southern Division champs, will now turn its attention to this Friday night’s Henlopen Conference championship match-up against Cape Henlopen (10-4). The game is set for a 7 p.m. start at DE Turf in Frederica.

Sophomore Alex Herka (3) and freshman Landan Hajek (19) go to hug in celebration of one of Milford’s 19 goals Monday night (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Gaglione recorded two of his five goals in the opening quarter, scoring at the 9:40 and 1:22 mark.

“The past couple of games we’ve come out slow, so I wanted to set the tempo quick so we could get up quick,” Gaglione said of his first-quarter approach. “We have a tendency to not put a whole game together, so I wanted to try to do that this game and I feel like we did.”

Tied 2-2 at the end of the first, Tech senior Dane Zimmerman scored back-to-back goals to open the second quarter and put the Ravens ahead 4-2.

Hajek and Gaglione goals at the 9:46 and 6:57 mark knotted the game up, 4-4, once again but a Graham Spellman goal with 4:27 to play in the half provided Tech with the one-goal lead at the break.

The Bucs came out of the halftime break firing on all cylinders offensively, with sophomores Conor Christie and Alex Herka, and freshman Matthew Hague, netting three of the game’s next four goals to put the Bucs ahead 7-6.

Tech’s Zimmerman completed a hat trick with 4:38 to spare in the quarter to tie the game up at seven goals apiece, but Landan Hajek took the game over just 17 seconds later.

With just under four and a half minutes to play in the quarter, Landan took control and went on a scoring spree that saw four balls hit the back of the net in the span of 1:22.

“That’s just Landan being Landan,” coach Faulkner said of the spree. “We’ve kind of seen it a little bit in practice here lately, but it was just a matter of time before he just exploded onto the scene. He’s had a good last few weeks and that was a good way for him to go out of the regular season.”

The four consecutive goals put the Bucs ahead 11-7 and Milford would retain the lead for the remainder of the game.

“I’ve gotten a lot more confident, especially because of my injuries in the beginning of the season. I feel a lot better now,” Hajek said of his late-season improvements.

Herka and Jordan Passwaters capped the third-quarter scoring for Milford, allowing the Bucs to enter the final 12 minutes with a 13-9 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Jonathan Gaglione scored a pair of goals in the first three minutes, including his 100th career high school goal.

“I was hoping I would [reach it],” Gaglione said, when asked if he thought he’d hit No. 100 against Tech. “The past few games we’ve been a little off, but this game we really came out, played our game – played fast, worked the ball around – and it just happened to be me who put it in the back of the net, but it could’ve been anybody at any point in the game.”

Tech put together a late-game run, netting Zimmerman and a pair of Kolby Wyatt goals in the final 2:30 to pull to within four goals but Shane Gaglione and his defense helped close out the season-finale victory.

While the 12-win Bucs await the release of the 2018 DIAA state tournament brackets, they’ll begin preparing for Friday night’s Henlopen Conference showdown with Cape.

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

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