WLAX : Freshman Collins establishing herself as offensive threat for Orange

first_imgDespite the rushed exchange, Devon Collins vividly remembers the day she met a legend.Standing on the sideline during the Syracuse-Towson game March 13, her attention was drawn away from the blur of players running on the field in front of her. In the middle of a possession, Floyd Little, one of the all-time greatest SU football players, greeted her.Little introduced himself and told Collins that in his playing days with the Orange, he wore the same number – 44, a number with more meaning than any other in Syracuse history.‘It was a pretty big deal because people don’t just usually come down to talk to us on the sidelines in the middle of our game,’ Collins said.Though she has yet to achieve the greatness Little did wearing No. 44, Collins has emerged as an immediate contributor and potent offensive threat for the No. 2 Orange in her freshman season. She has 22 goals through 12 games this season, and her 25 points rank fourth on the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCollins will look to build on those totals when the Orange (10-2, 4-0 Big East) plays No. 13 Cornell (8-3, 3-2 Ivy League) on Tuesday in Ithaca.She scored a career-high five goals Saturday against No. 12 Georgetown, helping extend SU’s winning streak to nine games. The last seven victories have come by an average margin of 9.6 goals per game.‘They’re feeling it right now,’ SU head coach Gary Gait said. ‘They’ve got great chemistry in the locker room, on the field, and when you have that, you have opportunities to blow out teams, and that’s what they’ve been able to do against some quality opponents.’Coming to SU for preseason training, Collins quickly immersed herself into that chemistry. She worked closely with fellow freshman Kailah Kempney, who also has 22 goals this season, and seasoned veteran Michelle Tumolo, who is one of the best crease attacks in the nation.‘When she stepped on the field, she just had a really quick step and had a shot that was really quick, and really hard and accurate,’ Tumolo said. ‘… It was really good to see that she had a lot of potential.’Still, when she was given the No. 44 before the season, she knew nothing of its meaning or the running backs in SU lore who had donned it.It wasn’t until one of the assistant coaches mentioned its legacy to her that she realized its significance.‘I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know how special 44 was to the school initially,’ Collins said.But now, she has grown to understand the magnitude of the number she wears on the field each game. And in turn, she’s thriving as a key cog in the Orange offense.Collins is turning the potential Tumolo saw in her before the season into tangible results.‘In the first game, I was really nervous,’ Collins said. ‘I was so nervous about everything, every little part of it.‘Now, I just go out there. I’m excited to play and not nervous.’Racking up goal after goal against the Hoyas, she certainly did not look like a freshman. Extra time on the field and help from her teammates has sped up her learning curve.But that short talk with Little is still ingrained in her mind.Before running back onto the field in the Towson game, Collins gazed up into the Carrier Dome rafters and saw Little’s picture hanging with the other iconic figures who proudly wore the No. 44.‘It’s all over the Dome, like on the field, up in the corners,’ Collins said. ‘It’s been an honor to play in it.‘… Hopefully I fill the shoes for it.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on April 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1last_img

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