Despite adversity, Murray leaves her legacy at Southern
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
Despite her Southern lacrosse career coming to an abrupt, unexpected end, redshirt junior midfielder Amanda Murray moves forward, and looks back proud, as her mark has been left at Southern far beyond Jess Dow Field.
“Honestly, my career [has been] indescribable,” Murray said. “I loved absolutely every moment that I’ve spent at Southern, and I think most of it came from being so involved, I really felt like I was able to make a lot of friends, meet a lot of different people just by being involved in so many different ways. And I think the opportunities I got at Southern, they all stemmed from me wanting to be involved.”
Murray has always been one to be involved, whether it has been at Southern or in her hometown of Bow, N.H., a small community located just off I-93, neighboring the capital city of Concord. It was in her hometown where she began to put her name out there, especially in athletics.
“I’ve been playing sports since I was 3-years-old, I’ve always wanted to be active and be doing things,” said Murray. “If I wasn’t practicing, [I’d always] just go outside, hit the wall, throw the ball around with my siblings, with my friends and my teammates. So, athletics have always been a pretty big part of my life.”
From when she first began athletics all the way through high school, Murray was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. Murray is also the oldest of four siblings, followed by: Shannon, a current sophomore lacrosse player at NE10 rival St. Michaels College, Makayla, a high school junior, and Kendall, currently in eighth grade. Like Amanda, all three of her younger sisters followed her lead athletically, pursuing soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
In high school, Murray was a team captain on Bow’s lacrosse squad, leading them to back-to-back state championship appearances while also collecting numerous accolades, such as: the Hometown Hero Award, two all-state selections and senior athlete of the year, while also getting the opportunity to play with her sister, Shannon, in her final two seasons. Away from athletics, Murray was the president of her graduating class all four years and a member of the National Honor Society.
“When [Shannon] was a freshman, I was a junior, so we played [together] my last two years and her first two years,” Murray said, “which was awesome, it was definitely a convenience factor because we shared the car, we were both in the same place at the same time. It was really cool to have my sister, who I’ve been with and shared a room with throughout my life on the same team with me.”
Once it became time to choose a college, Murray certainly had her options. She said it was always her dream to play college lacrosse and had numerous offers from schools all around the east coast. Ultimately, she chose Southern because she felt it was the right fit for her.
“I stumbled upon Southern,” said Murray, “and when I came for my visit day it just absolutely felt like home. I loved the location, loved the size, loved the people, loved the atmosphere. Southern definitely checked off all my boxes.”
Once she arrived, she fought for field time, ultimately appearing in eight games as a freshman in 2017, recording her first two career goals in the same game against Southern New Hampshire University.
However, after the success she saw in high school and in her first year, Murray began to face her share of adversity, as she redshirted the 2018 season due to injury.
Despite having to sit out, Murray was still able to make it a positive situation, learning new aspects of the game while also jumping into a student leadership role off the field as one of Southern’s peer mentors, helping mentor a class of first year students, keeping her involved while helping to develop even more leadership skills.
“I would definitely say [it helped my leadership on the field], especially with peer mentoring, that was something that definitely gave me a lot of confidence to not only show my own leadership skills but to help others pull their own leadership skills and to help them grow into the leaders that they are so they can help the team as well.”
Murray held that student leadership role from her sophomore year in 2017 through this year in 2019, and, after returning to the field in 2018 and having her leadership skills honed, she was named a captain by head coach Kevin Siedlecki for the 2019 season, her senior year academically, however, her redshirt junior year in terms of eligibility.
“She has always been a bright, bubbly person,” said Siedlecki. “But she really grew as a vocal leader when she had her injury, and then when she got back on the field, she maintained that 100 percent and was contributing on the field as well. Every time you’re disappointed, you’ve got to find the positives, and she’s absolutely a better lacrosse player and a better leader now.”
Murray’s strong leadership of her teammates have arguably helped her now more than ever, as the Owls’ season was suspended, then cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – another bout of adversity for her in her college career. As heartbroken as she was, she has taken it upon herself, alongside fellow captain Kendall Simmons, a senior, to help the rest of her teammates through such a trying emotional time.
“Getting the news, like two-weeks ago, first they told us it was getting postponed, that we would have to play Connecticut teams. So, we got together in the locker room and we also got together at a couple of our houses,” said Murray. We had all the girls meet up and basically, Kendall [Simmons] and I being the captains, and the seniors especially said, ‘You know, girls, we’re not sure where this season is going to go, keep track of your emails, keep track of texts.’ We tried to keep the girls as informed as we could throughout the process. And once we found out the season was cancelled, obviously that was super sad, very heartbreaking.”
For the seniors whose careers were effectively cut short, there is the option of being granted blanket waivers, allowing them to get their eligibility back for another year. With that in mind as well as another year of eligibility to burn, Murray has decided to move on. She has been accepted into graduate school at Plymouth State University in her home state of New Hampshire, where she will pursue a Master of Education in school counseling while also taking a graduate assistant position in student life, assisting with clubs and organizations.
Still, with one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, she will look to use it as a grad transfer for the Panthers, however, rather than lacrosse, she will attempt to revert to one of her former sports.
“I’ll be trying out for the basketball team there next year,” Murray said. “So, a little change of pace. I talked to the coach, let her know my situation and that I had a redshirt year to use, and she was really excited. I’ll be trying out in the fall and, hopefully, continuing my athletic career. We’re going to try it out and see how it goes.”
While her time at Southern, and in the NE10 Conference may be over, Murray’s legacy lives on, as does the family name. Shannon Murray will enter her junior season for the St. Michael’s Purple Knights next year, and Makayla Murray is already fielding collegiate offers from numerous NE10 schools to play lacrosse. The family name will continue to live in arguably the best conference for women’s lacrosse at the Division II level.
“I definitely don’t think lacrosse will be out of my life,” said Murray. “While I won’t be on the team anymore, I’ll be able to watch my sister Shannon play in college for two more years, Makayla is just about to get into her college journey with lacrosse, and Kendall is just about to get into high school lacrosse next year. And while I’m home, my sisters and I run clinics for the local elementary and middle school girls. So, I don’t think I’ll be giving it up anytime soon.”