LM JuCo Women's Preseason Player of the Year: Mary Milligan
'Complete Player' in Comfort Zone at Anne Arundel
by Chris R. Vaccaro | LaxMagazine.com
Anne Arundel sophomore Mary Milligan led the NJCAA with
89 points last season and will attend UMBC next year.
Mary Milligan jumped onto the junior college scene last year at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland and quickly grabbed the nation's attention. A NJCAA-high 89 points (62 goals and 27 assists) and first-team All-America selection will do that.
Milligan, who is committed to play at NCAA Division I University of Maryland Baltimore County next year, will start the 2012 season as LM's JuCo Women's Preseason Player of the Year.
Her team, ranked No. 2 in LM's preseason poll, lost in the NJCAA championship to Monroe and finished with a 17-2 mark last season. For Milligan, personal accolades are nice, but she wants to win a title before she begins her UMBC career. She also gives credit for last year's offensive explosion to her teammates, who make the plays around her.
"I hope to keep improving," Milligan said, "keep getting better. With only losing three people from last year's roster, we can pick up where we left off."
Anne Arundel coach Jim Griffiths speaks highly of Milligan. He didn't have flashy stories about her scoring touch, nothing major to draw from besides her down to earth nature and consummate work ethic.
"She's a kid that shows up every day, whether it's practice or workouts in the offseason," he said. "She epitomizes a really good student-athlete."
Griffiths said it took one-tenth of a second for him to put her on the roster once he learned she would be attending community college.
"Hard work, being receptive, really trying to learn the game and understanding it is as much a mental game as much as a physical one," he said of Milligan's attributes. "She just has that ability to see things differently than others."
Milligan, who played at South River High in Maryland, had offers from a number of out-of-state schools, but wanted to stay close to home so her friends and family could watch her play.
What transpired last year was the culmination of Milligan being in a comfort zone with teammates she could trust. It helped her game evolve. "We all clicked really well," she said.
Playing at Anne Arundel has afforded her and her teammates the ability to gain experience playing multiple positions on the field. She grew up as a midfielder with an attackman's mindset, but could often find herself playing defense just as easily as scoring up front.
She took almost every draw last season and Griffiths said she is one of the top defenders on the roster. Anne Arundel only dressed 13 players last season because of injuries, so Milligan, who is majoring in elementary education and also runs on the cross-country team, played almost every minute in 2011.
"She's a complete player," Griffiths said. "Defending, clearing, riding. She doesn't just excel in one area. She was the quarterback of our offense last year as a freshman. She just is a very smart, very well schooled player and understands the game."
Even with confidence from having a hot year in 2011, Milligan said she still gets nervous before every game. She's quiet prior to the action, focused before unleashing at all angles of the field.
"I think I play smart and try not to make any dumb or irrational mistakes," she said. "I try to feed off of everyone from my team. It's not a one-man show. Everyone does their part."
LaxMagazine.com JuCo Women's PPOY Fan Vote
Mary Milligan, Anne Arundel
Keirsten MacLellan, CCBC-Catonsville
Kathleen McGovern, Herkimer
Brittany McMullen, Howard
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