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Attackman overcame ankle injury to play for Under Armour underclass championship team

Attackman overcame ankle injury to play for Under Armour underclass championship team
Andrew Milani, a Catonsville resident, played for the Baltimore Command squad that won the Under Armour underclass lacrosse tournament. He will be a sophomore at St. Paul's School in the fall. (photo by Steve Ruark)

Andrew Milani's lacrosse coaches gush about the gifted attackman's intensity and thirst for scoring when they talk about him.

The Catonsville resident, who will begin his sophomore year in the fall at St. Paul's School, recently took a break from playing summer ball for the Rock Lacrosse Club to play for the Baltimore Command at Towson University in the Under Armour tournament July 1-3 for underclassmen scheduled to graduate in 2019.

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Baltimore Command went 7-0 and won the 11-team bracket with a 6-5 win over Philadelphia Command in the championship game.

A week after suffering a high ankle sprain in a tournament in Rochester, New York, Milani played sparingly in the first game and didn't play at all in the second game.

But, in the third contest, a 12-5 victory over South Command, he dazzled the crowd with a behind the back goal.

It was a highlight moment from a player known to do that, but one that was not surprising to the coaches that know him best.

"He was a very, very dominant offensive player for us as a freshman," St. Paul's JV coach Rick Matthews said. "He could play attack, he could play midfield, he could create offense and he rides hard."

He was also the team's leading scorer and a pleasure to be around.

"He has a nose for the goal and he has a good lacrosse IQ and he's a great kid to coach and a great teammate," Matthews said.

Milani grew up playing lacrosse at age 4 in the Catonsville Clinic and Tyker program and played for his dad, Mike Milani, until the eighth grade.

"He used to go to practice with me with my other (two) boys," his dad said.

The youngest child also had something in common with older sister Deb Milani — a knack for scoring.

Milani, who will be a senior on the University of Maryland lacrosse team next season, was an All-County First Team player at Catonsville High in her junior and senior seasons and led the team in scoring with 94 goals and 29 assists during her final year there.

"They were very competitive with each other growing up," Mike Milani said.

That competitive fire has drawn the attention of St. Paul's varsity coach Rick Brocato.

"His tenacity and his energy are really special, so he are looking forward to having him," Brocato said.

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Earlier this summer, Brocato did get a chance to coach him along with some other Crusader underclassmen and he was impressed.

"He picks up ground balls in traffic, he rides hard and he's not afraid to turn the corner and that's going to pay good dividends, not only for him, but hopefully for us in the future," Brocato said. "It's a good combination and we have some luck with guys like Michael Watson, who could do that and was kind of a slasher. Mikey Wynne and Carter Flaig were also that way."

Watson, a 1993 graduate who is in the St. Paul's Hall of Fame, was a 4-time All American at the University of Virginia and was named Most Outstanding Player after the 1996 NCAA championship game and was the 1996 Attackman of the Year and 1997 ACC Player of the Year.

Wynne played at Notre Dame and Flaig played for Princeton.

Milani is already drawing interest from Division I programs, including Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Towson universities.

Brocato is just looking forward to having him at the Brooklandville school the next two years.

"We are hoping that he makes some contributions for varsity in the future and as a leader down the line for us," Brocato said. "That's kind of what we have him earmarked, as a future ambassador of the program."

Brocato already knows he has outstanding lacrosse instincts to go along with his aggressiveness.

"I love the way he plays," he said. "You can teach a kid to slow it down and let the game come to you a little bit, but he has such a high motor and you can't teach that, so that's something pretty special."

Rock Lacrosse coach George Parks has seen that special talent since he started coaching him for the 2019 Green Elite club team last fall.

"Andrew is very tenacious and has very high intensity," Parks said. "He's an attackman that brings a good IQ and a desire to win and he picks up our team."

Parks was an All-American at Roanoke College when they won a Division II championship in 1978 and scored six goals in the semifinals on the way to the title, so he knows about gifted scorers.

"He has no fear and is very, very tenacious and a go-to guy who has learned when to put his foot on the pedal and when to hold back and his teammates have great confidence in him," Parks said. "We as a coaching staff have great confidence in him. Good things happen when he has the ball."

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