Some players were born to be leaders.
Siena junior attack Richie Hurley is one of those natural take-charge guys who isn’t afraid to step to the front of the line.
Hurley, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound graduate of Ward Melville High School in Setauket, is not only the Saints’ leading scorer, but he is also the unquestioned leader on a team favored to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title.
“I like it [being the captain],” said Hurley, who was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. The Tewaaraton Award is presented annually to the top male and female college lacrosse players in the United States.
“I put pressure on myself to succeed. It’s a matter of being trusted by the players. I trust them, as well. I feel very comfortable in my captain’s role, and I’m honored that my teammates chose me,” he said.
Hurley’s statistics stand out just as much as his outgoing personality. After Saturday’s victory at Detroit, he tops the Saints in goals (19), assists (34) and points (53). Twenty-five percent of his shots have found the back of the net, and he’s converted four man-up opportunities so far for the Saints, who are 7-4 overall and 4-0 in the MAAC.
Although Hurley is the Saints’ top goal-producer, his main strength is as a playmaker. He is second nationally in assists per game (3.30) and fourth in points per game (5.20). He holds a 27-game point scoring streak, and last weekend became the 23rd player in program history to compile 100 career points.
“Like I said before. It all goes back to trusting my teammates,” he said. “When you play with guys like Colin Clive [17 goals] and Conor Prunty [14 goals], it’s very easy to set them up for goals. They are all great players, and a lot of my productivity comes from them.”
Third-year Siena head coach John Svec is a big fan of Hurley’s.
“The reason Siena has been so competitive in the last few years is that it all goes back to the history of the program,” Svec said. “We keep asking the guys to take the next step, but we are always reminding them about the players who came before us. Those people set the table for this program, and that’s why players like Richie Hurley, Colin Clive and the rest of the guys have the opportunities they have today.”
Svec said that Hurley has all the physical tools to excel, and he’s even more impressed with his mental skills and team-first personality.
“He puts the ball in the net, for one thing,” Svec said. “He has great vision, and his skill set comes naturally for him. He’s also an intense competitor and a fantastic leader. He knows how to set up his teammates, and they trust him. He’s a kid who works so hard that his teammates respect that. The harder he works, the more his teammates respect him, and it keeps fueling itself. I would say he’s a natural leader and also a great student. He doesn’t care who gets the goals, as long as Siena wins the game, and that’s the kind of leader we want to have.”
Hurley is a history major who plans on becoming a teacher and a lacrosse coach. He came to Siena because he loves the family atmosphere.
“Two players from my high school came here, and that’s when I first learned about the place,” he said. “When I made my visit, they did a good job of selling the school. I loved the size of Siena, the fact that we are truly student-athletes, and the close relationship we have with our teachers and administrators.”
Hurley, a second-team All-MAAC selection last year with 30 goals, 19 assists and 49 points, said the Saints are primed to win another MAAC title and play in the NCAA tournament.
“Our tough non-conference schedule sets us up very well for MAAC games,” he said. “We really focus a lot more on our conference games, because we know how much more they mean. As a team, we like to dictate the pace to other teams and make them play our style. We don’t like trying to adjust to what other teams do.”
Siena has been to the MAAC tournament championship game in each of the last two seasons. The Saints won the regular-season conference
title last year. They were MAAC champions in both 2009 and 2011.
If Hurley has his way, his Saints will be hoisting another banner soon.