Normally, a high school soccer team that has started out 0-4 would get the urge to press the panic button. In the case of the Milton High girls team, the thought of such a thing has yet to cross the minds of head coach Gary Burke and his players.
For those who don’t know, Milton is a Division 2 team among the mostly Division 1 Bay State Conference. While the Wildcats schedule is D-1 heavy, Milton does have a few games against Division 2 opponents during the year, and as long as they can sport a .500 record against said D-2 foes, they can find themselves back in the State Tournament.
This practice is known as “The Sullivan Rule,” and it helped the Wildcats into the postseason a year ago despite a 4-13-0 record and has assisted Milton in getting into the Division 2 South Sectional every year since 2013.
In the first four games of the season against Division 1 and Bay State Conference rivals, games Burke refers to as “training games,” Milton has seen its fair share of struggles. The team dropped a 5-0 loss to Framingham on Sept. 5, a 5-0 loss to Braintree on Sept. 10, a 4-1 defeat against Needham on Sept. 12, and a 6-0 loss versus Natick on Sept. 17.
While battling these top-tier teams can be beneficial for the Wildcats, the stars show that there is plenty of room for improvement.
“There are definitely some pieces to improve on,” Burke said after the match against Natick, “we can improve on just about everything. We play in a great league and we want to be competitive at every level. The teams we play like Natick and Brookline, those quality teams are what we aspire to be.”
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