Murray stars for Orange after ACL tear

first_img Published on March 6, 2013 at 1:12 am Contact Melissa: [email protected] Alyssa Murray went down hard in front of the goal post and clenched her right knee. The cut she made wasn’t different from any other, but this one tore her ACL.Murray had played her last game for West Babylon High School. After just committing to play lacrosse at Syracuse, tearing her ACL was a huge setback for Murray, but not for SU head coach Gary Gait.“I continue to recruit kids that have knee injuries because the surgery is so good nowadays, they all recover and become the player that they really are,” Gait said.Murray’s recovery took longer than she expected. She rehabbed the rest of her senior year and into her transition to Syracuse. Though she worked with Orange trainers, remaining optimistic was hard. But she credits her father Ray for helping her persevere and instilling her with self-assurance.“Confidence was her biggest thing,” Gait said. “But she’s an extremely hard worker, and she developed her confidence as her leg got better.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMurray’s father played lacrosse at Adelphi University. He helped give her and their hometown of West Babylon, N.Y., its first taste of women’s lacrosse.Murray was only 5 when her father’s friend helped start the West Babylon Community Youth Center girl’s lacrosse program. About a year later, Ray started coaching the team. Murray tagged along to watch her older sister play and opted to try, too.“Halfway through the season, they just threw me a uniform, even though I was half the size as everyone,” Murray said. “They could barely field the team every game.”Murray’s father encouraged her to pursue lacrosse, despite being the youngest on the team. He took one of his old lacrosse sticks, chopped it in half and handed it to her. It was the perfect size for his tiny daughter.Taking her to the backyard with her new stick, Ray challenged Murray to see how many times she could successfully throw and catch the ball. Murray caught the ball 15 times in a row. She had a natural knack for the game, something Gait needed her to realize while rehabbing.But that was only a part of her recovery. Katie Rowan, an assistant coach and former SU player, realizes how common ACL tears are in lacrosse, as well as the difficulty getting back to 100 percent.“It really does take a toll on your legs and knees, specifically,” Rowan said. “There’s so much cutting on defense and offense.”Murray was aware of this, yet resilient. She knew her capabilities, but coming back and recognizing the speed of the game was challenging. Murray credits her teammates in helping her fall back into sync with the game and in 2010, becoming a starter.“She had the skills and ability to be playing, so I put her in,” Gait said. “She’s a very solid player with great instincts and she’s one of our smartest players and was a great fit for our offense.”Notching 24 goals and 24 assists in her first season, Murray did what Gait and her father knew she could. Along the way, she also impressed Rowan, who joined the coaching staff in 2012. After watching film of Murray, Rowan noted her explosion between her freshman and sophomore seasons.In her sophomore season, Murray led the nation in points and goals. She ranked 10th in the nation in points per game with 4.57, and was named to the Big East All-Tournament team.Moving up the rankings her junior year to eighth on Syracuse’s all-time scoring list, Murray has remained consistent in the Orange’s (2-2) first four games of the season. She was recently named to the 2013 Tewaaraton watch list for player of the year as she continues to validate the confidence Gait had in her coming out of high school.Said Gait: “Alyssa Murray is the perfect example of why I do that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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