PETERBOROUGH, Ontario — For most of her life, a September birthday has meant that Ally Murphy has been one of the youngest players on her lacrosse teams.

But for the World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship, Murphy’s birthdate has put her in the unusual role of being the oldest player on her team. Murphy just made the age cutoff for the world championship and is the only U.S. player with two years of college experience under her belt.

A two-year starter at the University of Massachusetts, the Wantagh, N.Y. native earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors as a defender this spring. She was playing the position in part because of the tryout process for the U.S. U19 team.

“At the tryouts there were so many middies trying out,” Murphy said. “I played defense for a couple of sets and they said, ‘Just stay there, you’re doing a good job’ and then I ended up staying there the whole tryout.

“I was very open-minded about it because this is such a cool experience that wherever the coach wanted me or needed me, I was willing to step into that role. When they said defense, I just kind of set my mind to defense and rolled with it. Now, I’m here a year later as a straight defender, which is pretty cool.”

She’s a straight defender with plenty of college experience at the position after switching from midfielder to defender full-time midway through Massachusetts’ 2019 season.

Her college head coach, Angela McMahon, is also an assistant coach for the U.S. team, and was not surprised at how Murphy handled the transition.

“Ally is just a really selfless player,” McMahon said. “She’s always about the team. She’s willing to do anything needed, including positional switches halfway through a season.”

That’s one of the reasons she was elected as a co-captain for the U.S. team alongside midfielder Elizabeth Hillman, who just completed her freshman year at the University of North Carolina.

“She’s a good connector, a great leader and I think you’ve just seen her maturity and growth through this whole process,” McMahon said of Murphy. “She went from being one of the youngest players on our team to being the oldest player on another team and I think it’s just an amazing, unique experience for her to be in that role in terms of personal life development. You just see her come out of her shell and really embrace her role here.”

The opportunity to play and train with the U.S. U19 team has helped Murphy take her game to another level.

“It has helped me tremendously, playing with some of the greatest players in this age group,” Murphy said. “Practicing every single day with them through the training weekends and being able to play defense against the best of the best has helped my game so much.”

“This is the best I’ve seen her play in her whole career and I think that’s great for us as a staff to her as the backbone and leader back there,” McMahon said. “Just knowing you can depend on that person in those clutch situations is so critical.”

Murphy and company will get their first test under fire on Friday night when they play Australia at 5 p.m. at Trent University. It will be a moment the 18 players on the team will remember forever.

“The first time they gave us the jersey was unreal,” Murphy said. “We all wanted to keep it. Putting it on for picture day [yesterday] was such an amazing feeling to be able to represent your country. I’m really looking forward to getting this thing started.”

NOTES: Games began today for the World Lacrosse Women’s U19 World Championship, but the first U.S. game will be on Friday at 5 p.m. (Eastern) against Australia…a record 22 nations are competing in this year’s championship…all games will be streamed live on Lax Sports Network…Canada is the defending champion, having upset the U.S. 9-8 in the 2015 final in Scotland to end a string of four straight U.S. championships.

U.S. Women's U19 Team

Follow the U.S. women's U19 team's quest for gold in Peterborough, Canada on the Team USA web site.

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