Common Interest: After honing craft with her father, Murray has last chance at an NCAA title
Courtesy of Murray familyHe would point things out to her as they watched. Then they would go to the turf field a block away from their house and work on her game, just the two of them.“It really became something that we would just work on and work on and work on,” Murray said. “He would show me some different moves or point something out in the game that I could do better.”Most of the time, Murray would take his advice. And it has paid off. Murray has now taken on the same leadership role with her teammates as her father did with her when she was younger.She’s not afraid to pull players aside and give them advice. Sometimes her father would do that during games and she’d get frustrated. She’d be wrapped up in the competition. But it made her better, and she wants to help her team do the same.“She plays attack and I play goalie,” said her teammate and roommate Alyssa Costantino. “We’re on opposite sides, and we definitely help each other out. I’ll be like, ‘This is a better shot for you to shoot.’ And she’ll be like, ‘This is how you can save that.’”This is Murray’s last chance to win a national championship, and with Syracuse one of the top ranked teams in the country, obtaining a title is not out of the question. It has never happened in the history of the women’s lacrosse program, or ever for a women’s sport at Syracuse.I think there’s even more of a chip on my shoulder that this is the last year that I’ll be able to be a part of it at Syracuse. I think that’s definitely a little bit of a motivation for me.Alyssa Murray, SU AttackNot only will it be her last year at Syracuse, it’ll likely be her last season playing competitive lacrosse. She’s been playing since that day in kindergarten that her father caved and handed her a lacrosse stick. But with no professional league, the only path in lacrosse after this season might be as a coach.“Coaching the sport that we love to play would be a great fit for her,” said former teammate Michelle Tumolo, who is now an assistant coach at Florida. “She’s very smart, she’d be a great coach. So obviously, it might be the end of the road, but there’s always other options.”Murray’s longest-tenured coach has always been her father. And even though his advice may no longer have any bearing for her performance on the field after her senior season concludes, it will help her in whatever way she decides to stay in the game.“It’s a typical lacrosse scenario,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “In a lot of cases where a father’s for playing lacrosse and has a daughter and develops that relationship by teaching her how to play. Certainly it has helped her success.”Despite living hours away, Ray and his wife Lisa make the trip to Syracuse for virtually every home game. And just because Murray is one of the greatest players in the sport doesn’t mean she’s fazed out her father’s words.A week before she came back to Syracuse during winter vacation, Murray and her dad went back out to the field a block from her home and shot just like they would during her childhood.Now Ray is just a spectator. He’s watching as Murray takes one last crack at a national championship.Both of their playing days may soon come to a close, but it was the sport that helped them form a bond.“We always had a common interest in lacrosse,” Ray Murray said. “That was able to keep things on a positive note no matter what else might have been going on.” Comments Published on February 13, 2014 at 1:30 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 All Alyssa Murray wanted to do was play. She was six years younger than most of the kids in her father’s West Babylon (N.Y.) youth lacrosse league, but that didn’t stop her from pestering him to give her a chance.When the harassment from his kindergarten daughter became too much, Ray Murray finally relented and let her play. She wasn’t as good or as experienced as the other players, but he didn’t see that as a reason to keep her on the sideline.“She really wanted to play so I told her she had to go after the other guy that was coaching,” Ray Murray said. “And his answer was anybody that wants to play that bad should be on the team.“She pretty much begged her way on.”Murray hasn’t put down the lacrosse stick yet. Now a senior for No. 3 Syracuse, she’s had one of the most storied careers in program history. She led the country in points as a sophomore, and has been a pivotal player on a team that has reached the final four the last two seasons. This year, she’s a team captain. And she credits a lot of her success to her father.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Lacrosse was a great way to get to know each other even better and just share a great bond,” Murray said. “It’s been my whole life that we’ve been able to share that.” When she was a kid, the two would drive across Long Island watching girl’s high school lacrosse games. When she got a little older, Ray, who was a college lacrosse player for Adelphi, would take her to watch the Hofstra women’s team play.