They say you don’t have to be crazy to be a goalie, but it sure does help.
More so than being crazy it helps to have nerves of steel and the belief that you can win every time you step between the pipes.
That’s what the Mount St. Mary Thunder have in their goalie Samantha Miller.
Miller, a senior in her second season of varsity, has been a major reason why the Thunder are 9-0 in league play and appear poised to repeat as Monsignor Martin Athletic Association playoff champions.
A run that saw Miller capture team Most Improved Player and league Defensive MVP.
“Freshman and sophomore years (on JV) I was kind of shy in net and I didn’t really have my true (sense of my) ability,” Miller said.
“Then junior year, with my coaches, helped me out gaining more confidence. And when I won the defensive MVP I really had more confidence in myself.”
The more Miller’s self-confidence grew the more and more her team knew they could depend on her no matter what.
“Not that you want to completely rely on your goalie, but Sam is always there to have our backs,” Mount defender Margaret Merigold said.
“She speaks to the defense and tells us where we should be. She is always communicating which is a big part of winning.”
For Miller it was a steady process to build that voice of leadership. In her heart Miller was always very secure in her ability. But she said it took some growing as a person and player before she was secure enough to know when it was her place to speak up and direct her teammates on the field.
“Last year and this year I’m more vocal, I can call out to my teammates because I know what I’m doing out there,” Miller said.
“I think it not only helps me it helps my team.”
The biggest hurdle Miller had to clear was that because she was younger initially she didn’t feel it was her place to bark orders on the field to older teammates. And she didn’t want to come off as disrespectful or not being a team player. As she grew more familiar with the position Miller realized being a voice of leadership and directing traffic on the field are part of a goalie’s job description. And that the support from her teammates gave Miller the confidence to know it was ok for her to make her voice as loud as it needed to be.
“Sophomore year I was kind of nervous with all the seniors and juniors,” she said. “But as the season went on they were so welcoming and they were such a good team. And it really built up my confidence. Junior year and coming in to my senior year I really have a lot of faith in my team.”
Miller has without question found her voice as they team has complete faith in her. Merigold said when the field players have unquestioned faith in their keeper it gives them the confidence to be more daring.
“You never really want to completely relax because it’s one-on-one,” Merigold said. “But Sam is always there and I think it gives our defense a little bit of a break because we know that when we get down there we get a chance to set up our defense before they take it in to Sam.”
Focused on another playoff title, Miller also has college lacrosse in her future as she signed to play for DIII Chatham University.
So what about all goalies being wacky, is it true?
“I think so,” Miller said with a laugh.