Manley Becomes First Honda Award Winner in Syracuse Athletics History
Syracuse, N.Y. (cuse.com) – Senior captain and All-American midfielder Alyssa Manley is the 2015 Honda Sports Award recipient for field hockey, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced on Friday.
Manley, who is the first recipient of the award in the history of Syracuse University athletics, led the Orange to its first National Championship in program history this season and first NCAA Championship by any women's team at Syracuse.
The Lititz, Pa. native is a three-time All-American at Syracuse, one of just four field hockey student-athletes to earn the honor three times in her career at Syracuse.
"I'm very honored that I was voted for this award," Manley said. "It's really indescribable. Everything that has happened through this whole year and my time here has been really great and I'm just truly grateful for everyone in my time here that has helped me to this point."
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Manley is also shining at the international level, playing with the U.S. senior national team at the Pan Am Games this summer, helping the U.S. qualify for the 2016 Olympics, while earning a gold medal in the event. Manley scored in the semifinal round to lift the U.S. to the championship game.
"I'm thrilled for Alyssa Manley, she's one of the most humble and hard-working athletes you'd ever meet," said head coach Ange Bradley. "For her to think about where she started to this point – the pinnacle of her collegiate career – is just awesome."
The team captain led the Orange to a perfect 16-0 record, the 10th team in any sport at Syracuse to secure a perfect regular season and first since men's lacrosse in 1990.
"Alyssa is so hardworking, humble and quiet," Bradley said. "She's always been the type of leader that leads by example. For this year going into her senior year it was really fun to see her find her voice and have moments of 'we need to do this' or 'this needs to change' and when Alyssa spoke, people listened. She wouldn't speak a lot but when she chose to speak, people listened."
Having started 66-straight games to conclude her collegiate career, Manley finished with 18 goals and 24 assists for 60 points from the midfield. Manley also played a crucial role defensively from her midfield role, helping the Orange to a 0.98 goals against average this season, which ranked fourth nationally and the nation's second-best scoring margin at 2.75. Both of those marks led the ACC.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics." With this honor, Manley becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2016 Honda Cup.
Manley was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Other finalists included Lauren Blazing (Duke), Maryland's Sarah Sprink and UConn's Roisin Upton.
Syracuse has never previously had a Honda Award winner in any sport. Manley is the third field hockey student-athlete to be selected as a nominee for the award, joining Shannon Taylor in 2008 and Julie Williamson in 1994. The Orange women's lacrosse program has also had a number of nominees, but no winners. Kayla Treanor (2014, 2015), Alyssa Murray (2014), Becca Block (2013) and Katie Rowan (2008) have all previously been nominees.
Now, Manley will be put into a pool with the 11 other Honda Award recipients from participating sports and the overall award winner will be selected this summer.