By Nick Mallard
FITCHBURG -- With a shrug and a chuckle, Al Millett admitted that a tie Tuesday afternoon for his St. Bernard's girls' soccer team wasn't the worst outcome imaginable.
Defeat on the road against Monty Tech not only would have meant an "L" in the record books, it would have made dinner at the Millett house unbearable. For that matter, so would a Bernardian victory.
So when the final whistle sounded on Tuesday's scoreless tie, Millett was able to breathe a sigh of relief. His daughter, Caleigh, is a striker on the Monty Tech side, and any other outcome could have spelled disaster.
"I was thinking that (a tie) is what it's supposed to be. She's not a good loser," Al Millett said of his daughter, smiling as Caleigh stood by his side. "And if they had won, I wouldn't have heard the end of it."
According to Caleigh, a junior, it's a trait that runs in the family.
"I was telling my team that if he won, he'd be bragging about it all night," she said. "It would be tough."
The draw pulls the family series to 1-1-2 when the Milletts square off. And though both sides look to win every time they take to the field, Caleigh admits that facing St. Bernard's means a bit more to her.
"It makes me want to win 10 times more," she said. "He beat us before, so I just really wanted to score in this one, and winning would have been even better.
Al Millett says that coaching against his daughter is one of the more difficult tasks he faces during the season.
"It's exciting, but it's tough keeping an eye on her while coaching," he said. "You want to watch her, but there's a job to do."
Both teams did their jobs, defensively, at least. Though both programs had quality scoring chances, they were few and far between, with most shots coming from distance and easily handled by the keepers.
Monty Tech (1-8-2) had the majority of the early looks, with Caleigh Millett having two golden chances to score in the first half. One effort struck the iron of the left post, while another point-blank shot was denied by Bernardian netminder Fiona Kelly (11 saves).
"We just couldn't finish today, and that's kind of been the story of our season," Monty Tech head coach Tim Scaduto. "We'd get in and have good looks at net, but couldn't get the shot we needed."
Likewise, the Bernardians (3-6-1) were shut down by Monty Tech keeper Abigail Kirrane, who made nine stops to preserve the shutout. In front of her, a defensive unit anchored by the strong play of Valerie Guzman kept the Bernardians from threatening much, though there were occasional scoring threats.
None was better than the chance off the foot of Bernardian striker Sabrina Patton, who broke through the Monty Tech defense with eight minutes left in the game, only to have her high shot pushed away by Kirrane.
"We weren't crisp on the fundamentals today, that was our biggest issue," Al Millett said. "We had some shots, but we just couldn't put them in."
In the contest, the Bulldogs held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks over the Bernardians.