Tyler Miranda opened the season by scoring the game-winning goal for the Buckeye boys soccer team in a 4-3 non-conference victory over Highland.
The senior has been on hyperdrive ever since.
Heading into Wednesday night, Miranda trailed only Hornets standout Eli Fragnoli (24 goals, 7 assists, 55 points) for the Medina County lead with 19 goals and five assists for 43 points.
“He has taken the leadership role on the team to heart,” Buckeye coach Joe Serio said. “He has proved himself to be a good distributor as well as a good striker. He just has a way of being elusive and quick and smart with the ball. He’s one of our most experienced players to come through the system. On top of that, he’s just a good kid.”
With Shaye Joyce lost to graduation, Serio was looking for someone to take over the reins as not only a leader, but as a goal scorer.
An honorable mention All-Gazette selection last season, Miranda has more than filled the void. He had scored at least a point in 12 of Buckeye’s 14 games prior to Wednesday and had a seven-game goal-scoring streak snapped Monday when Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy beat the Bucks 1-0.
What’s more, Miranda had registered at least a point in 11 straight games before the Royals snapped it.
“For me, it was taking more responsibility,” he said. “Last year was more playing with talent we had. This year it’s about taking the lead and moving forward with it.”
While Miranda leads Buckeye in scoring, he’s not afraid to take a backseat to someone else for the good of the team.
Jack Waters (13 goals, 6 assists, 32 points), Kaiden Whitford (9, 4, 22), Eddie Greer (7, 2, 16), Shane Capela (4, 3, 11) and Ben Widows (3, 5, 11) have flourished with Miranda as one of the team leaders.
“He’s been a little more confident this year,” Waters said. “He dishes it off and gives us a lot of opportunities. Honestly, it’s a whole lot better with him. Last year I don’t think I played this well. Tyler really stepped up and relieved the pressure.”
Miranda has been resourceful for the Bucks as both a center midfielder and forward. When Serio is looking for a more defensive-minded game plan, he knows Miranda is willing to step back and help the Bucks. When things get tight, he can push his four-year letterwinner up front to score.
“That versatility aspect to our style of play is so crucial to our success,” Serio said. “He’s surrounded by a cast of guys who may not have his experience, but they can learn from him and watch him and imitate what he does on the field. To have him as a utility player as well as your captain, who is able to do what a captain is expected to do by scoring, by distributing and by scoring big goals, it’s one of those blessings you have.”
While some might want to take the spotlight for themselves, Miranda knows a big reason Buckeye won the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division for the second consecutive time and eighth time in the 14-year history of the league was sacrificing the “me” for the “we.”
“Knowing there are a few other guys that can pick it up if I’m having a bad game helps,” Miranda said. “They’ve got more speed than I do, so they can make runs and beat people on the outside. That’s the biggest aspect.”