Knack for scoring keeps Notre Dame’s Saylor Milone on an elite path – PA Prep Live

RADNOR — Some field hockey players have a knack for scoring. It’s a gift. Once they get the ball in the circle they find a way to put it in the back of the cage.

Academy of Notre Dame’s Saylor Milone has that ability, although she didn’t know it until she reached high school.

Milone was a midfielder through elementary and middle schools before being moved to forward as a freshman. It would be another year before she discovered her skill for scoring.

“My freshman year was really short (due to the COVID-19 pandemic),” Milone said. “We only played four games, so I really didn’t get to embrace the position until my sophomore year.”

Notre Dame’s Saylor Milone, center, takes a shot during a game in which she scored four goals to lead an Irish win over Cardinal O’Hara earlier in the season. (Pete Bannan – MediaNews Group)

Milone burst onto the scene with 26 goals and nine assists as a sophomore and took her game to another level this season with 52 goals and 16 assists, earning Inter-Ac League Most Valuable Player honors and leading the Irish to a share of the league title. with Episcopal Academy.

“She just gets herself in the right positions,” Notre Dame coach Adele Williams said. “She can also create for herself. Teams did double-team her but she was still able to find a way to get herself open and find the back of the net. She’s really special.”

Milone proved that with at least 12 games with multiple goals, including nine hat tricks, with a high of seven goals in a 10-0 win over George School in the PAISAA tournament. Those numbers earned her All-Delco honors for the second year in a row and Player of the Year recognition for the first time in her career.

Joining Milone on the All-Delco team, which was selected by the Daily Times sports staff after consultation with county coaches, are: Notre Dame’s Maeve Seeger; Charlie Bruder and Alexis Ventresca of Episcopal Academy; Maeve Boston and Sophia Brown of Cardinal O’Hara; Courtland Schumacher and Sienna Golden of Archbishop Carroll; Garnet Valley’s Riley Gallagher and Alana Poole; Lauren DeRose from Agnes Irwin and Radnor’s Alex DeCain.

Milone, Seeger, Bruder, Boston and DeRose are repeat selections.

Milone, a junior, is the seventh Player of the Year from Notre Dame. She follows in the footsteps of Quinn Maguire (2016), Moira Putsch (2012, 2013), Emily Fuss (2011), Katie Gerzabek (2009, 2010), Meghan McCullough (2008) and Shannon McKenna (2004). She was selected as one of the top 10 players to watch in Class 04 2024 by Max Field Hockey.

Making the move from midfield to forward wasn’t difficult, Milone said, just different.

“I picked it up pretty quickly,” said Milone, who has committed to play at Michigan. “I had to get used to accelerating at different times and making cuts into space and not worrying about transitioning the ball as much. Playing those four games in my freshman year helped. It really encouraged me and motivated me for my sophomore season and playing a larger role on the team. We really didn’t have time to get to know each other, so it motivated me to get to know my teammates better and be able to put in all the work to become a better player and teammate.”

Like a lot of players, Milone got her start in the sport at an early age. She was introduced to field hockey by her mother, Stacy (Duca), who played field hockey and lacrosse at Georgetown. Her mom was a three-time All-American in lacrosse for the Hoyas and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

“She was my coach throughout elementary and middle school,” Milone said. “She played a big role in my development.”

Milone’s development began to take off when she began playing club field hockey for the WC Eagles in the fourth grade.

“Playing club exposed me to playing with so many other high-level players,” Milone said. “They pushed me to get better, really challenged me. We all get to work on our skills together and since we’re at similar levels we’re all very encouraging to each other. We also embrace the competitiveness of playing club and it shows on the field when we play other clubs because we’re so connected on the field. We have that bond of pushing ourselves in practice.”

As her game grew so did the exposure. She was invited to showcase events and ultimately drew the eye of the people from USA Field Hockey starting in 2019. She participated in the Nexus program, a developmental program for players 11-19, and was named to the 2022 U-16 women’s national team and will participate in the U-18 selection camp next week in Houston.

“It’s so exciting,” Milone said of her national experience. “In eighth grade I never imagined playing at the US level but then I started to get selected to different events and showcases out of that and that’s when I realized I have the potential to be a part of the junior US team and keep me along that pathway. That really inspired me. I became so invested in becoming part of the US team, doing everything I could to make myself better so I could contribute. It has become a big part of my life year-round.”

The best part of the trip to Houston is that she gets to do it with her younger sister, Reese, who just completed her freshman season at Notre Dame. She’s been invited to try out for the U-16 team.

“I think for Reese, being her first year on the team, it’s definitely exciting for her,” Milone said. “I’m glad to have the experience of being part of the U-16 team last year, so that gives me the knowledge of what the tryouts will be like. I think that will help my sister. I can let her know what it’s like. It’s going to be a lot of fun for both of us.”

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