Syracuse's Murray is LM's Preseason Player of the Year
|Murray has put up monster points for the Orange throughout her career. Can she cap it with an elusive NCAA title? (Matt Riley)|
BALTIMORE — When Syracuse star attacker Michelle Tumolo went down with a torn ACL midway through the 2013 season, the Orange barely skipped a beat and made it all the way to the NCAA semifinals.
How did Gary Gait's team manage the feat?
By having the loose, versatile Alyssa Murray controlling things en route to 104 points and a Tewaaraton Award finalist spot the rest of the way. The ability to adapt and thrive is just one of the reasons Murray is Lacrosse Magazine's NCAA Division I women's Preseason Player of the Year.
"I'm not personally the flashiest player but I try different things and do what works for me," Murray said in a full-length preseason player of the year feature that will appear in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine. "That's how you find your success."
Little success has evaded Murray in her playing career, and she hopes to finally put an exclamation point — an NCAA title — on her resume with the Orange. The team begins its season early with two games in January including facing Stetson at Champion Challenge, a US Lacrosse event, next Friday. Syracuse plays its first season in the ultra-tough ACC this spring, but is fortunate to have a number of those tough games at home in central New York, including matchups against the other five of the top six teams in LM's preseason top 20.
In the past two years, Syracuse has reached NCAA championship weekend, staging a huge comeback in the 2012 semifinals against Florida before falling in the final to Northwestern and falling by a goal to eventual runner-up Maryland in the semifinal this past spring.
"I honestly have tried not to talk about [the season] because I'm so excited for it," Murray said. "We're all thrilled that we have the opportunity to go back."
If things break the way we expect them to, don't bet against Murray and the Orange being right back challenging for a title once again in 2014.
Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse, looks at our preseason players of the year and more. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at #LMRanks.
LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote
Barb Sullivan, Notre Dame, Jr. D - 37%
Taylor Cummings, Maryland, So. M - 17%
Abbey Friend, North Carolina, Sr. A - 16%
Alyssa Murray, Syracuse, Sr. A - 15%
Kayla Treanor, Syracuse, So. A/M - 13%