Moya comes back from major injury to play key role

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Moya comes back from major injury to play key role

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

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In the first practice of then-freshman Garrett Moya’s Marquette men’s lacrosse career, a routine move suddenly became a disaster.

“It was a one-on-one dodge, I was running up the left side, did an inside roll and just planted wrong,” Moya said. “I felt the whole outside of my leg blow up and I wasn’t able to walk.”

The attackman tore his meniscus and damaged the cartilage, requiring two surgeries to repair his leg.

Moya, who previously never suffered an injury besides a dislocated shoulder in high school, was in entirely new territory.

“Thank God my ACL was fine, so I don’t have too much stability damage,” Moya said. “Any athlete’s worst nightmare is saying that you messed up your knee or something, so that was a pretty scary moment.”

A year and a half later, the redshirt freshman was finally cleared to return to action.

“It was a long journey,” Moya said. “It took a lot of lonely hours in the weight room and the physical therapy room. You have to relearn everything that you have to do.”

His clearance and return came just hours before the Cleveland State game when 19 of his teammates were suspended. Although Moya was practicing before, he wasn’t practicing at 100 percent.

“I didn’t really start running, running until that game,” Moya said. “I kind of got thrown in there and just had to power through, try to help the boys out.”

Moya tallied a goal in that matchup, his first in a Marquette uniform.

“He’s a smart lacrosse player with great instincts, really good skills,” Amplo said. “He’s got the ability to play not like a freshman. He’s just a confident kid.”

A native of Huntington, New York, Moya appears to be a product of his lacrosse upbringing.

“I was blessed because growing up on Long Island, the lacrosse is pretty good your whole life,” Moya said. “You have to have this IQ for the game so that you can make plays. I’m able to see the field pretty well, and that’s how I had to be.”

The redshirt freshman plays a much different style than the other attackmen on the team.

Amplo said Moya isn’t anywhere near as fast and agile as players like junior Ryan Fazio and redshirt senior Tanner Thomson.

“He’s probably the slowest person on our team,” Amplo said. “He’s got Bambi legs. Truly looks like Bambi. It’s almost painful to watch him run.”

However, the 6-foot-2, 205 pound Moya presents a challenge to opposing defenses because of his contrasting frame.

“I’m more of a big bruiser and I have pretty equal hands (to my teammates), so I can go lefty, I can go righty,” Moya said. “I’m more of a finisher. We’re similar in the way we can make plays, but different in the fact that I use my body more.”

Amplo recognized how crucial Moya’s style of play is to his attack unit.

“He’s a great target inside. He’s got the ability to feed when he carries the ball in his stick,” Amplo said. “When he gets it on goal line, he’s big enough, strong enough and smart enough to handle pressure. That’s a skill, that’s instincts.”

For Moya, simply cracking the offensive rotation isn’t good enough. He has much loftier goals.

“Win a championship,” Moya said. “That’s the biggest goal. Personally, I’d love to be First Team All-BIG EAST.”

He said he knows those goals won’t be easy, but he believes his work ethic can bring him to those heights.

“When I’m not working, someone else is,” Moya said. “I’ve just got to outwork everyone.”

Off the field, Amplo said Moya is a critical part of the team’s culture.

“He brings that Long Island flavor that I miss,” Amplo, a Hofstra University graduate, said. “The guys love him. I’m not sure if that’s because when the sun goes down, G-Money comes out, but the guys absolutely love him. He’s always smiling, he’s got a great personality and he’s a crowd favorite.”

While Moya has already made a big impact in the short minutes he’s been allotted, Amplo said fans might be seeing more of the 6-foot-2 Long Island attackman early in games.

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