The East Coast Conference rookie of the year award in 2012 was nice. Being named the conference player of the year and recognized as an All-American last season was a pretty cool next step, too. Luke Miller, however, is still chasing what drives him to excel on the lacrosse field: a national championship.
The NYIT junior attacker believes this could be the year for the Bears, a team with a solid defense and explosive scorers.
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"Of course, those are amazing accolades to have, but the main goal is always a national championship," said Miller, a Floyd graduate who transferred to NYIT from Stony Brook. "And I haven't reached that goal yet, which is the main reason why I came here."
Miller led the nation in points per game last season after he started all 15 games. He had 44 goals and 42 assists, and also collected 46 groundballs. This season, Miller is fourth in the nation in points per game after 10 games played. He has 19 goals and 31 assists.
NYIT dropped two of its first three games this season, but has since won six of its last seven. Miller, who is known more for his on-field leadership than vocal skills, said he noticed a positive amid the early despair.
"With the rocky start, freshmen and sophomores gained the experience and developed some maturity and that should help us be successful," he said.
The Bears (7-3, 4-1) will be challenged this month. They'll host highly-touted conference foes Roberts Wesleyan at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Molloy at noon the following Saturday. Pivotal matchups against LIU Post and Adelphi, two Division II powerhouses, will follow.
"It's going to be a tough week and tough couple of weeks," Miller said. "But that's why guys come to NYIT. We want to play the best and we'll approach this as a good challenge. We think some teams have looked at us lightly because of earlier losses, but we know that we're not that team that should be losing games. So we're looking forward to hopefully making a statement."
Miller starred for the boys varsity team at Floyd for six seasons and after transferring from Stony Brook, he said he had offers to play at other schools, but chose NYIT because of his familiarity with the college. One of his older brothers, Matt, won two national titles with the Bears.
Miller would like nothing more than to stop being reminded that's he two behind.
"My dad and my two brothers all played lacrosse and they've never let me stay still," Miller said. "I never think I'm where I should be and I think my potential could go way higher. I know that I'm not even close to where I should be. I'm more concerned to win a national championship than walking away as an All-American."