Published on February 11, 2016 at 12:04 am Contact Liam: [email protected] Riley Donahue follows in family’s footsteps while creating own name with Syracuse women This is placeholder text Advertisement Facebook Twitter Google+ Riley Donahue received her first lacrosse stick from her father before she was 6 years old. After watching her two older brothers Dylan and Collin play, she had been clamoring for one of her own.Donahue was shorter than the stick at the time, but her father Kevin dyed the white men’s stick her favorite colors, purple and pink.The stick remains in the Donahue’s garage today. It serves as a distinct twist on Donahue’s lacrosse lineage, which features her dad, three uncles and two brothers, all of whom have played at Syracuse.“I can learn a lot from what they’ve all done here for their programs and the success my family’s had,” Donahue said.After 12 years of playing in the shadow of her family members who have left their mark upon the men’s program, the sophomore is primed to make a name for herself in 2016.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut with current seniors Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana combining for 182 of SU’s 441 total points last year, the upperclassmen will shoulder most of the offensive load on the attack this season. The pair leaves Donahue as Syracuse’s third attack, a position she’s more than comfortable with as she learns from and quietly builds upon her family’s example.Courtesy of Syracuse Athletic CommunicationsRiley Donahue fights off a defender in a game against North Carolina on April 11, 2015. She had an assist and four shots in the game.Even as a freshman in 2015, Donahue provided head coach Gary Gait with a reliable complementary option with the third-most goals, 28, and third-most assists, 15, on the team while starting every game. Donahue already possesses a savvy lacrosse IQ, seizes opportunities on the attack and excels at groundballs, Gait said, but in 2016, he’ll ask for more as he looks to diversify his team’s attack even further.“There’s so much focus of Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana … and (Donahue’s) going to be able to quietly play her game and put up some unbelievable numbers,” Gait said. “Most people talking will be talking about those players, and she’ll just be out there getting the job done.”As a high-profile recruit with a familiar last name, expectations were high for Donahue during her freshman campaign. Treanor and Majorana would thread no-look passes that soared by, catching Donahue unaware. She found herself playing timid at times and taking the field in the Carrier Dome for the first time brought nerves that hindered her play.This year has been noticeably different, though, as Donahue’s confidence blossomed throughout fall practice and pre-season workouts. Over Winter Break, she spent five days a week at Manley Field House doing wall-ball drills, putting shots on net and even occasionally playing with her brother Dylan and other players on the men’s team.She possessed a strong shot, a knack for being in the right place at the right time and even an ability to score last year, Majorana said. But with added repetitions, Donahue’s confidence has increased, making Syracuse even more dangerous.She’s a sophomore, but she plays like a senior. She’s not afraid to lead people out there and now she’s not afraid to be vocal.Halle MajoranaEven as Donahue improves, she’ll take a backseat like she did while growing up. She had her own friends, but would spend a lot of her time at her brother’s practices and watching games.As she grew up, she’d play in the backyard with both of her brothers — sharpening a tough, mental edge. Now she practices with her teammates, coordinating times to meet up for extra work with a group text message with the other attacks.The work isn’t to overtake Treanor and Majorana as the team’s offensive leaders, but to better complement the pair and make opponents’ third defender pay. Even when she had been the star of a team in high school, she shied away from the attention that comes with the leading role.Emma Comtois | Design EditorLaurie Donahue, her mother, remembers Riley pacing the kitchen while on the phone with her high school lacrosse coach, Bob Elmer, who informed his star senior attacker she had earned 2014 CNY Player of the Year honors.“He told her the award and she said, ‘What’s that?’” Laurie said. “She’s just always been that way, hating attention. Riley does what she does for her teammates and because she loves lacrosse.”In 2016, Donahue doesn’t have to be the star. But just like her pink and purple men’s stick, she’s going to take what others have given her and make it distinctly hers.“I just want to build on some of the things that I have learned so far here at Syracuse and try to make a little bit of a name for myself as well,” Donahue said. “On one hand, I don’t have to do much, but on the other, I think I have a really big role to play.” Comments Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.