January 6, 2014

#LMRanks: Moorhead Anchors Texas On and Off Field

by J. Jude Hazard | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | College Preview 2014

"It's the American Way."

A key player and leader for the Longhorns, Tully Moorhead is Lacrosse Magazine's WCLA DI preseason Player of the Year. (Cecil Copeland)

That's how Tully Moorhead describes her gritty all-around style of lacrosse. The senior midfielder and Grapevine, Tx., native led Texas with 55 goals last year, but she also was a force on the defensive end for the Longhorns, who are ranked No. 6 in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason WCLA Division I poll. Moorhead added 38 draw controls, 34 ground balls and 17 assists in 2013, positioning her well as Lacrosse Magazine's WCLA Division I Preseason Player of the Year in 2014.

It's not hard to see why Texas coach Brandie Leach counts on Moorhead to do the heavy lifting on both ends of the field.

"Her internal motivation is very important to the success of our team because she is a captain, leader, and her teammates look up to her," Leach said. "Every practice and game she exemplifies this trait. She literally will push herself to exhaustion."

Leach gives each of her key players individual objectives before every game. One game, she joked, she gave Moorhead about two dozen things to accomplish that day.

"We started laughing because I put so much responsibility on her," Leach said. "I said, 'Forget everything I just said and go out and play Tully's style!' Of course she went out, played the best game, and did all that I asked."

Texas has improved each year of Moorhead's career. The Longhorns finished 10th at the WCLA National Championships her freshman year, eighth in her sophomore year and sixth last year. She is a three-time Academic All-American and was a first-team All-American in 2013.

After graduating with degrees in government, international relations and global studies, Moorhead hopes to land a job in community development and planning, with a focus on maximizing health and opportunity for women. She boasts a 3.9 GPA and said she applies the same principle to her academics as she does to lacrosse.

"If you put a high priority on everything and keep it balanced, you'll find success in every area," Moorhead said. "We have an offensive and defensive system that really works with developing players. You have to be used to doing everything to be successful, and that's really good for players coming up and finding their confidence."

Growing up in a Dallas suburb, Moorhead said high school lacrosse was much less formal than what she experiences now. She credited Leach with instituting a system that sets up her and other players for success. Although Moorhead strives for perfection — score on every shot, hit every pass, win every loose ball — she doesn't dwell on her failures.

This story originally appears in the January 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.

"There's way too much negativity on failure in general in sports," she said. "People need to look at a game or look at a season way more long term. You never know. There are so many different variables that could happen in every single moment in a game. Just because you messed up one time and it was really bad doesn't mean you can't make it up later in the game."

Moorhead tries to avoid over-thinking plays and characterized Texas' free-flowing offense as elegant and natural.

"I don't think about a game as a whole. I think about it moment to moment," she said. "We don't really have plays where people need to be at a certain place. It's always organic, the way we develop things. We work a lot on skills and we have to trust ourselves and our teammates."

Texas hosts a tournament each spring that typically draws some of the top talent in WCLA Division I. College club teams rely on such tournaments as a cost-effective way to face the best competition in the country and bolster their postseason hopes.

Colorado State, which went undefeated last season enroute to its fourth WCLA championship in six years, drubbed the Longhorns 10-4 on their home turf in Texas' tournament opener last year. Texas bounced back the next day to beat BYU 9-8.

"I was so nervous the first game to play Colorado State," Moorhead said. "I played like I played in high school. All I did was run and try to be really athletic and was just so mad at myself. The next game we played BYU and I just let everything go and it just clicked."

Moorhead is the team's president this year, which means plenty of work off the field to coordinate scheduling, fundraising and logistics. She hopes her efforts pay off for the Longhorns, who are perennial playoff contenders.

"This is the last time I'll play competitive lacrosse," Moorhead said. "I'm going to go all in."

Fan Vote

Read the breakdown of the finalists by LM's Brian Logue.

Tully Moorhead, Texas, Sr. M - 41%
Kelly Arnhart, Georgia, Sr. D - 28%
Nicole White, Florida, Sr. M - 23%
Ali Slyne, Colorado State, Jr. A - 6%


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