Two-Way Play: The Underappreciated Role of a Midfielder

Lacrosse is a game of two sides, offense and defense, and Morgan Begley patrols both.

For a while, the senior played attack for Framingham State University, where she recorded 63 points over two years.

But, this year she was switched to the midfield position.

“Before this season, Morgan played mostly attack and was always a factor in our ride because of her speed,” Framingham women’s lacrosse coach James Rippey said. “But she really thrived in the midfield role this year and expanded her contributions on the defensive side of the ball.”

Right from the start of the new season, Begley scored two goals from her new position. She then continued to score six more over the next three games as she potted a goal in every appearance.

Begley had scored eight goals last season in four games as well, but that came from the offensive focused attack position. It also took her 17 shots to do so, where it took her only 12 shots on goal to pot eight this time around.

She also stepped up defensively, bringing in nine ground balls and caused four turnovers. The ground balls stood for half of all that she accumulated in her sophomore year, and the caused turnovers matched the four she had that season.

“Being a midfielder is hard work, but I got a new appreciation for defense that I used to not have,” Begley said. “I enjoy the challenge of trying to score goals and defend our net all in one game.”

Image courtesy of fsurams.com

The position seemed to be the perfect fit, as Begley was on pace to crush her stats from previous seasons.

In 38 games over the past two years, Begley scored 41 goals, but was set to score 38 this year alone.

“Her bright personality always brings a positive energy to practice, and as her lacrosse skill has continued to develop, she’s found more and more ways to contribute on the field,” Rippey said. “This year, I asked her to further concentrate on her defense and move into the midfield for us, a role that she was excelling at early this season.”

That was until the coronavirus forced her final season to end well short.

But before all of this, the lacrosse player from Milton was taking the field in the fourth grade.

“It was never something competitive then, it was all for fun,” Begley said. “So going into high school, I got a little nervous that it was going to be a big change.”

Begley went on and led the Milton High Eagles all the way to her senior season where she was named captain and won the best all-around player award.

“Lacrosse became more competitive in high school which I liked a lot, it became a lot more serious to me,” Begley said.

The Framingham lacrosse coach first saw Begley play in her junior year, and then attended one of her summer league lacrosse games at Dedham High School.

“Morgan’s athleticism stood out and her determination to score,” Rippey said.  

She later attended one of Framingham State’s fall prospect clinics at the beginning of her senior year, and soon after committed to the program.

Image courtesy of fsurams.com

“Our coach James Rippey was the main reason I came to the school. While talking to a few college coaches, he was the one that stuck out to me the most,” Begley said. “I got to go to a game while I was still a senior and I started meeting more girls committed to Framingham for lacrosse and players on the team. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”

And after three seasons in a Rams jersey, which included two MASCAC Conference Championship appearances (first in program history), a MASCAC Regular Season title (first in program history) and an undefeated Conference record last season (first in program history), Begley’s career came to a screeching stop in her fourth year with the nationwide epidemic.

Before the coronavirus hit, Begley and the Rams were predicted to win the MASCAC Conference title.

“Knowing we won’t get a chance to fight for that title is hard, but these are uncontrollable circumstances and I can’t wait to see what the team does next year,” Begley said. “Playing at Framingham State was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am so lucky to have the best teammates who fought so hard every year to make it as far as we did and we had so much fun doing it together. And of course our coach who never gave up on us and lead us to two championships.”

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