Will Miller ended his high school lacrosse career with a feeling that any athletic gear company would love to bottle and sell.
In the Weston boys lacrosse team's 7-6 Class S state championship victory against St. Joseph last June, it was Miller in the closing seconds who had the ball in his possession with the orders from Coach John Mathews to perform what is known as a "fireball": sending the ball as high and far as possible without letting it go out-of-bounds.
"I had the ball and there was five seconds left I just chucked in the air as high as I could and I killed like three seconds and then the ball hit the ground on the other side of the field and we won," Miller said. "It was the best feeling. [St. Joseph] had the ball, too. They could have tied it up. They had the ball on our side of the field for like two minutes and they couldn't get a decent shot."
"He certainly was one of our leaders on our defense, for sure,"
Mathews said of Miller. "He was our go-to one-on-one defender... That defense was the backbone of our last year."
That defense, Mathews noted, held opponents to an average a four goals a game. Miller went on to be named to the Class S All-State team and the All-Patriot Division team.
The dramatic outcome wrapped up a four-year career drenched in playoff success. During the four years Miller played on the Trojans' varsity squad, the team finished with two state championships (2007 and 2010) with two champion runner-up spots sandwiched in between.
Although Miller admitted recently that he still regularly thinks of his Weston teams' accomplishments, he now finds himself on a club as a member of the men's lacrosse team at Adelphi University, a team that statistically ranks as one of the most successful programs at the Division II level with seven championships. The Panthers, who play in the Northeast-10 Conference, won their last title in 2001. Adelphi finished 10-5 last season with a 7-3 record in conference play.
"Our team has a lot of young talent so this is a big step up," Miller said. "It's like being in freshman in high school. That's what I compare it to."
Miller arrived on the Long Island campus, located in Garden City, N.Y., two weeks ago. In addition to starting classes, Miller has been attending a series of practices and "meetings all the time" that address all of the matters that come with being a collegiate athlete.
"It's a long process to get your fall season before you can put on pads," Miller said.
Adelphi's season officially begins in March, but Miller will get to whet his appetite for the college game when the Panthers play in two preseason scrimmage tournaments in consecutive weekends in October:
Oct. 17 in Farmingdale, N.Y. and Oct. 24 in Suffolk County (N.Y).
"I'm really excited. I can't wait to see how it will different [it will be]. It's a new experience from playing with high school kids,"
Miller said. "It's a much faster game."