Milford catches fire, finishes lacrosse season sweep of rival Lake Forest

FELTON – Perhaps it’s still too early to call it a rivalry.

But for nearly 30 minutes on a chilly Wednesday night at Lake Forest High, the host Spartans boys’ lacrosse team and visiting Milford Buccaneers certainly battled like well-matched old foes.

Lake Forest's boys' lax team battled Milford tough for more than two quarters Wednesday night. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Lake Forest’s boys’ lax team battled Milford tough for more than two quarters Wednesday night. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

In the end, however, the veteran-laced Bucs showed their mettle and went on a scoring rampage, opening up what was just a two-goal lead with 18 minutes to play to win 16-4.

The victory kept Milford (8-0 overall, 4-0 South) undefeated on the season while Lake (6-4, 1-3) saw a five-game winning streak come to an end.

“For some reason we’re just a slow starter against Lake Forest,” said Milford head coach Blake Faulkner, whose team defeated the Spartans 17-4 earlier in the season. “But we’ve been able to pick up the pace and finish them out.”

Wednesday evening it was seniors Matt Veramontes, Ring Lardner and Zach Heesh who livened the Bucs’ step.

Lake junior Austin Aguilar had just cut the Milford lead to 5-3 with a goal five minutes into the third quarter and the Spartans were awarded possession following the score thanks to a Milford penalty.

Junior goalie Clay Stevenson and the Bucs’ defense, however, were able to regain possession and keep Lake’s momentum from building.

Moments later, Heesh scored the first of three Milford goals to close out the third quarter – junior Mark Henderson and Lardner scored the other two – and the Bucs ended the period with an 8-3 advantage.

“It allows our offense to do a lot more because the defense has its back at all times,” Faulkner said. “They clamp down when they need to. They’ve been the backbone of this team.”

Milford's Matt Viramontes (left) chases after Lake's Austin Aguilar. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Milford’s Matt Viramontes (left) chases after Lake’s Austin Aguilar. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Viramontes took over from there, scoring a trio of his co-game-high five goals in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter as the Bucs pushed their lead to 12-3 before Lake freshman Carter Kenton stopped the seven-goal run with a score.

Sophomore Dallas Rhodes quickly got the goal back for Milford though and Lardner scored three times unanswered before the final horn.

“We didn’t come out to play and we had to wake up and say ‘they are not a better team than us,’” Viramontes said of Milford outscoring Lake by 10 over the final 18 minutes of play. “We’ve been underdogs for a long time, but now it’s our time to shine.”

Being a new program, Lake will likely be an underdog for a while, much the same way its new rival was not long ago.

Faulkner, who not only has played a big role in Milford High’s recent improvement thanks to his youth lacrosse coaching but also has worked with several Spartans in previous years, however, is looking forward to future battles between the programs.

“They look good and they have kids with a lot of heart,” Faulkner said. “We’ve seen a few of them before, they’ve come up through our youth program. That’s why we have it, to help everyone around here, including Lake Forest.

“Milford and Lake have a rivalry in every other sport and now maybe we can add lacrosse to it.”

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