Montilio bolsters American’s offense
Michelle Montilio started all 40 games her first two seasons on the women’s soccer team at American University. The first four games this fall, there was only frustration for the junior from Hanover.
She had suffered a pulled quad in preseason camp. Eager to get into game action, Montilio came off the bench in the team’s first two games before rejoining the starting lineup for a pair of weekend contests against Vermont and New Hampshire.
The early return was ill-conceived. Montilio reaggravated the pull and missed the next three games - all losses. She returned in mid-September, still not 100 percent.
Her health finally started to turn with the start of conference play. The timing was fortunate, and her play within the Patriot League attracted enough attention to earn her first team all-league honors.
“I thought she would get some league honors,’’ coach David Bucciero said. “She has been great since the day she stepped foot on campus.’’
The 5-foot-6 center midfielder is highly regarded for her defensive prowess. Bucciero raves about her ability on 50-50 balls in the air. Montilio credits that talent to Rolando Lopes, her coach at South Shore Select, where she played club ball in high school.
What had been lacking in Montilio’s game was her ability to move the ball the other way. As a freshman, she netted a pair of goals while launching 29 shots, but last year, her offensive game faded to zero goals and just 17 shot attempts.
Late this season, that began to change. The Eagles were struggling to score, and Montilio didn’t feel her defense-first approach was helping.
“I figured we weren’t getting the results we needed, so I figured I’d step up and go forward and attack,’’ she said. “During the Holy Cross game [on Oct. 21], I started dribbling and taking people on and realized I could do it, and I kept going from there.’’
Montilio scored a goal against Holy Cross, a 1-1 tie. Two days later, she put three shots on goal in a 3-0 loss to Army. Then, in the season finale, she scored the game-winner as American (6-11-2) topped Colgate, the regular season conference champs, 1-0.
“We knew we had nothing to lose going into that game,’’ said Montilio, an all-state selection her senior year at Hanover, where she registered 97 career points (63 goals, 34 assists). “It was kind of like putting all the steps together in our final performance. It’s going to be great going into the spring season and working off that win.’’
Montilio built confidence late in the year off her previously untapped offensive abilities, and plans to carry that into next season. That’s good news for the Eagles, who scored 0.86 goals per contest in 2011.
“I think we’ll improve,’’ said Montilio, who made 14 starts. “We have 10 seniors coming back, and they’re all really good leaders.
“We’re going to get rolling and attacking more so we can get goals and win games.’’
Another Tippett stars on gridiron
Linebacker Andre Tippett was a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Patriots.
Eighteen years after his NFL Hall of Fame career ended, his surname will again be represented at a national showcase. Tippett’s son, Coby, will participate in the Eastbay Youth Football All-American Bowl game in San Antonio in January.
An eighth grader at Sharon Middle School, Tippett was evaluated at a Football University camp in Westwood over the summer, where he was selected to represent the East Coast in a 185-pound-and-under showcase.
“I was kind of shocked,’’ said Tippett, a defensive back. “There were tons of kids I saw at the FBU camp who were very skilled players. I didn’t think I was going to hear that. I was pretty excited.’’
The elder Tippett has coached his son in the local Pop Warner program since he was 7.
“I don’t get into praising him too much in a coach-player relationship, but he’s a pretty good, heady player,’’ Andre Tippett said.
“He plays with a lot of passion for the game. His instincts are really cool to watch.’’
Braintree opens course to veterans
As a PGA professional at Braintree Municipal Golf Course, Bob Beach has long believed in using his talents to assist those with special needs, particularly those disabled while serving their country.
So, for the second year in a row, Braintree Municipal will offer free greens fees to all veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Additionally, from 1-4 p.m., Beach and his fellow pros will offer free lessons for veterans.
The municipal golf course will also collect golf balls and golf clubs to send to US troops in Afghanistan.
“It’s funny, this is my 21st year, and for like 19 years we had a big veterans tournament,’’ Beach said. “I always thanked them for their service. Then I said, ‘Let’s do something to actually thank them.’ ’’
Beach has built a reputation for his work with special-needs golfers.
Every Monday through the summer, he hosts a clinic specifically for disabled golfers, and each October Braintree hosts the NEPGA Special Olympics Tournament.
He was named Massachusetts’s top instructor in November’s Golf Digest Magazine, a nod to his work in the special-needs community.
“If an award like that can bring attention to my work with special-needs golfers and veterans, all the better,’’ Beach said.
Rowers in form on the Charles
For the third time, students at BC High competed in the youth division at the Head of the Charles Regatta. The performances of the Eagles Youth Eights and Youth Fours were both strong enough to ensure both boats will compete again next fall.
Six area rowers competed for the Eagles: captain Connor Dilworth (Weymouth), Matt Poles (Quincy), Brendan McLaughlin (Rockland), Dan Latu (Norton), and Nick DelPrete, coxswain) on the eights, and Liam Whelan (Rockland) on the fours.
The eights placed eighth overall.
“The best rowing in the world is on the Charles River,’’ coach Steve McKiernan said. “We’re just trying to uphold the high standard all these folks established.’’