Manley named First-Team All-American at Syracuse

By on December 3, 2014
Alyssa Manley

Alyssa Manley

Alyssa Manley has joined some elite company in the Syracuse University field hockey annals.

With her selection to the Longstreth/NFHCA Division-One All-America First Team, the 2012 Warwick grad became just the ninth player in Orange history to earn multiple All-America honors.

“It was pretty great to get that recognition from the coaches and the NCAA,” said Manley, who received All-America Third-Team accolades in 2013. “You never really know how things will turn out or what the other coaches see in other players.”

She credited Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley for playing a key role in her success.

“(Earning multiple All-America honors) was really nice,” said Manley, who also earned All-ACC, All-ACC Championship and All-Mideast Region honors for the second consecutive year in 2014. “I know a lot of that has to do with Ange and her turning the program around here at Syracuse and really creating a good program.”

As nice as the All-America recognition was, though, Manley would have rather celebrated a national championship with her Orange family.

Thanks to Manley’s game-winning goal &tstr; on the sixth shot of the penalty shootout &tstr; 4th-seeded Syracuse knocked off top-seeded North Carolina 3-2 to advance to its first-ever national final.

Unfortunately, however, their dreams of bringing home the gold came up just a little bit short, dropping a 1-0 decision to Connecticut at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the campus of the University of Maryland on Nov. 23.

Despite outshooting the Lady Huskies 7-4, with six of those shots coming in the second half, the Orange weren’t quite able to tie things up.

Asked if her post-season accolades eased some of the disappointment from the setback to UConn, Manley remarked, “I’d say probably no. That’s an individual thing mostly and I want to have a team recognition with all my teammates and the coaches.”

En route to their first-ever national final, Syracuse created a lot of lifetime memories. One of the biggest was upsetting the Lady Tar Heels in the semi-finals 3-2 in front of more than a thousand fans.

“We had beaten them before (3-2) in the ACC Tournament, so we knew that we were capable of doing it,” Manley said. “We knew it was going to be a difficult game, so we just knew we had to play our hardest… It was a great atmosphere and I think we did a real good job for it being the first time in the school’s history of having a team making it that far.”

An anchor at midfield for the Orange, Manley scored three goals and added nine assists, good for 15 points this season for Syracuse. She picked up a helper on SU’s second goal against North Carolina, finding freshman midfielder Lieke Visser.

Her biggest impact, however, came when she stepped up to the line in the penalty shootout.

“I knew that I had to stay focused and not get distracted by all the noises around me and everyone around,” Manley recalled. “I guess it was just a matter of staying within myself and I knew that I had to get the ball into the goal.”

In those situations, the former Warwick star is at her best when she ad-libs.

“With me, it’s more just kinda going and feeling it as I’m doing it &tstr; not really coming up with a plan beforehand because if you come up with a plan and it gets disrupted, it screws you up,” Manley said.

Going 1-v-1 against UNC goalkeeper Shannon Johnson, she made no mistake on a pretty goal.

“I usually try to switch it up so I’m not predictable. I pulled the ball to the left and I hit it in off my reverse,” Manley said.

Was it the biggest goal she has ever scored?

“Yeah, I guess so,” Manley laughed. “… It was a really good game and we all played our hardest and just getting to that point and being able to help the team really rise above and make it to the national championship was great.”

With one more year of eligibility, Manley will be a key player for the Orange in 2015 as they look to extend its streak to eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

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