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Rutgers sophomore becomes captain after missing 2013 with injury

She was the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2012, sustained a season-ending injury in 2013 and then elected by her teammates as team captain in 2014.

That’s how much of an integral part of the Rutgers field hockey team sophomore Alyssa Bull has become.

Bull was attracted to Rutgers in part thanks to someone she idolized growing up. Her sister, Jenna Bull, was a two-time team MVP in 2009 and her senior year in 2011.

Because of her sister, she spent a lot of time around the program watching the Scarlet Knights play.

It helped her to get to know the coaches and the girls on the team.

“I knew what I was getting myself into,” Alyssa said of her choice to attend Rutgers. “It was a great opportunity for me and I felt at home here.”

Head coach Meredith Long said many things attracted her to recruiting Alyssa, but her competitive spirit and knack for the game helped.

“Alyssa is just a competitor,” Long said. “She wants to win. She can make a difference on the field. She’s someone you want to have the ball in clutch situations. She’s an outstanding leader.”

When Alyssa arrived on the scene at Rutgers, she made an instant impact for the Knights by tallying five goals (two game-winning) and seven assists for 17 points.

She started all 19 games that season, and her efforts wound up helping her earn Big East Rookie of the Year honors.

Her sophomore year did not go as planned, but it showed that Alyssa is a team player.

Last season, she started the season opener before suffering a season-ending injury.

Instead of focusing solely on her personal comeback, she morphed into her role on the sidelines to help her teammates and make an impact off the field.

“Not being able to contribute gave her a different perspective,” Long said of Alyssa sitting out last season. “She has great perspective on the game. I think that she contributed last year not the sideline. She was invaluable for us. She was always providing feedback to us in games.”

She took the role of being proactive and improving her understanding of the game.

“It was hard,” Alyssa said of sitting out the season. “But my team and my coaches, as well as my trainer were all very supportive and I think I took on a different role and saw the game in a different way. It made me a better player in the long run to see the game from the sideline.”

Despite being restricted to the sidelines, she continued to act as a leader for the Knights.

“I never changed the way I acted with my teammates,” she said. “I was very vocal. I think people would take my opinion into consideration.”

Goalkeeper Shevaun Hayes believes that Alyssa brings a positive atmosphere to the team.

“She is the best,” Hayes said. “She is really positive around the team, even when she was injured, she was still positive. She is a great captain and a tremendously skilled player. She is very approachable as a player. You can go up to her with any problem and talk to her at any time.”

Despite being named a captain, Alyssa said it never added any extra pressure to how she acted.

“It doesn’t add that much pressure,” she said. “I believe in the saying, ‘You don’t need a letter to be a leader.’ Everyone should be a leader on the field.”

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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