Milani cousins

Deb Milani, right, from the University of Maryland and a 2013 Catonsville High graduate, warms up before she scored her first collegiate goal in the University of Maryland's 14-3 win over UMBC last Friday. UMBC sophomore Meghan Milani, Deb's cousin, who is recovering from hip surgery, watched the game from the sidelines. (Photos by Brian Krista / February 18, 2014)

Standing on the sideline with a pair of crutches and her team trailing Maryland late in the second half by 11 goals, University of Maryland, Baltimore County sophomore defender Meghan Milani didn’t have lot to get excited about. But with just over seven minutes left, her cousin, Deb Milani, changed all that.

Milani, a freshman midfielder and 2013 Catonsville High graduate, saw her first Division I action in her first collegiate game and promptly won the center draw for the Terps.

Less than a minute later, she converted a give-and-go pass from Caroline Wannen for her first goal.

“I didn’t want to cheer for her, but I was really excited for her,” said Meghan, who is recovering from hip surgery in August.

“It was a play that we’ve been working on, and I just happened to be wide open,” said Milani, who was used to scoring goals at Catonsville, where she led the Comets (16-3) to the state semifinals last year.

In her senior year, Milani led Catonsville in points (94 goals, 29 assists), draw controls (129) and ground balls (46).

She was also one of 44 seniors selected for the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse team and was the only public school player from Baltimore County named to the 22-player roster.

Despite those accomplishments, Milani still had butterflies when she was sent into the game for a Terps team that has won 10 national championships and lost in last year’s national title game to North Carolina in triple overtime.

“I was a little nervous, but it was fun once I got in,” Milani said.

Her dad, Mike, was more nervous.

“I was tense,” he said. “It’s hard watching, because as a player, you know you can control it, but as a parent, it’s just hard because you want them to do so well.”

The goal eased his tension.

“It was beautiful. It was a back door,and it was perfect,” said Milani, a Woodlawn High graduate who shared the moment with his wife, Joanne, and extended family members. “It was a great play and she did everything right. It was a proud moment.”

His brother, Jack, who grew up in Catonsville along with his wife, Jackie, was looking forward to the game when his niece made her college choice.

“I think it was great when Deb decided to go to Maryland and we knew they were on the schedule and we couldn’t wait,” Jack said. “I just wish Meghan wasn’t hurt.”

When Meghan recovers, the Glenelg graduate will be in the defensive rotation for the Retrievers.

Although they never played lacrosse together because Meghan was older, they did play T-ball together when they were four and five.

But being on the sidelines for Division I lacrosse programs was special.

“It’s awesome,” said Meghan, who watched UMBC take a 2-0 lead before the Terps reeled off 14 unanswered goals on the way to a 14-3 victory.

The game, which was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, was postponed to Friday at noon because of snow, and then pushed back again to Friday at 2 p.m.