Sam Miller has experienced a lot in her four years of playing soccer for Commack, but she's never seen this.
The senior keeper recorded her eighth shutout of the season Thursday against Patchogue-Medford to help her team continue its undefeated season. She's allowed two goals in 10 games all season.
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At 5-foot-5, Miller, who said she will play for Lehigh University next year, makes up for a height disadvantage by being an aggressive and vocal leader on the field.
"Her desire and work ethic is 10 times the size of her," coach Tracie Morenberg said. "She was always an intense athlete."
Through four seasons in net, Miller said she's learned not only how to be a better player, but also how to direct and motivate her team vocally. It's helped keep the defense organized, which in turn has given rise to her shutouts. It comes through confidence she's gained through the years.
"I realized at my position I need to do that to be successful," Miller said. "I need to get the most of the other people around me."
It's something she learned in part from looking up to U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is known for his reactions after plays.
"He's very loud and will get in your face if he thinks something's going the wrong way, which I do a lot as well, but he'll also be the first to go over and high-five his defenders," Miller said.
Miller often comes off her line to help the defenders in front of her -- a risky move -- but she said it's worth it.
"It's a very direct game; it's physical with a lot of through-balls," Miller said. "If I can come out and cut those off it prevents dangerous situations."
And don't be fooled by her ability at her position, Morenberg insists that Miller could easily be a scoring threat as a forward from what she's seen in practice. It's become a running joke that she's being kept in goal for the good of the team.
"I'm trying to convince the coach now to let me play a little striker in my senior game," said Miller, who also is a guard on the Cougars' basketball team that won the Long Island Championship last season.
For now, Miller is focused on keeping the winning going on the pitch. She experienced a lot of it in her first two years, when Commack went to back-to-back Suffolk I semifinals. Last season was a rebuilding year with a large turnover in starters, and she's been impressed with the learning curve a year later.
"I didn't foresee this," Miller said, referring to the quick success. "But once I got in here with the girls and I started playing, I can see it and I believe in our team," Miller said.