Versatile attackman Doyle transferring from NCAA Division I Siena
After sitting out his freshman season on the men’s lacrosse team at NCAA Division I Siena College in Albany, N.Y., rising sophomore attack/midfielder Peyton Doyle opted to transfer to Liberty University this fall to join the Flames, even before first setting foot on campus.
“There are a lot of different reasons people like Liberty, and for anybody to make a decision to go to Liberty without actually being here, they must have heard positive things,” Liberty Head Coach Kyle McQuillan said.
McQuillan said prospective recruits often gravitate to Liberty upon witnessing all that the university — as well as the thriving Club Sports program that finished sixth in the final MCLA Division I rankings — has to offer.
“Seeing it in-person, taking the campus tour, and meeting with some of the coaches helps solidify those decisions,” McQuillan said.
Doyle, from Schenectady, N.Y., visited Lynchburg, Va., for the first time to attend an ExperienceLU tour last weekend, meeting middie Cameron Carter and attack Mark Rolewicz and a couple other players.
“I met with (Assistant) Coach Mike Zumpano and did a workout with a few of the guys in the morning,” Doyle said. “I loved the whole way they approached the game. Even if it’s a (MCLA Division I) club program, it is the same level as a DI school, with a better all-around environment.”
His decision may have been swayed by his girlfriend, Annabelle Lilly, who will enroll as a freshman this fall. She is the daughter of Liberty alumni Maryanna and Roscoe Lilly, lead pastor at Starpoint Church in upstate New York and a past recipient of Liberty’s Church Planter of the Year Award and the Church Growth Award.
“Both of her parents are all into everything Liberty,” said Doyle, who plans to study through the School of Health Sciences to prepare for a career as a physical therapist.
“Jessi and Justin and a handful of our guys have taken that track, so it is good to see a familiar face in the classroom, and for them to be a resource for our guys,” McQuillan said.
A factor in Doyle’s choice to pursue that career path was his own experience with injuries that sidelined him for his senior season of high school, when he was a team captain, and freshman year in college.
“The week before my senior season started (at Christian Brothers Academy) I went up to dunk a basketball and slipped off the rim and landed in a pushup position and broke both my wrists,” Doyle said. “Then, right before my freshman season (at Siena), I tore my meniscus, so I had to get surgery on my knee. Hopefully, I am on the tail end of my recovery from that, and I will be wrapping myself in bubble wrap (before the Flames’ fall season).”
He is currently interning with both the personal trainers and the physical therapists at Uplift Athlete in Albany, gaining valuable experience in the field while improving his fitness and packing more muscle onto his 6-foot, 185-pound frame.
“I grew up playing sports year-round and have always been pretty fast, one of the faster guys on my teams,” said Doyle, who played travel lacrosse for Sweet Lacrosse in Rochester, N.Y., one of the top teams in the nation.
McQuillan believes Doyle can recover quickly from his knee injury and play to his offensive potential as a sophomore at Liberty, returning to the form he had when he was one of his team’s leading scorers as a sophomore in high school before COVID-19 cut short his junior year.
“He is definitely a guy that we’ve got a lot of faith in,” McQuillan said, noting that Doyle is one of at least seven attackmen and middies in the incoming recruiting class. “We are really optimistic about the group as a whole and … they will all progress at their own pace. Peyton is among the top in that he is a little older and has a little experience from Siena, which gives him a bit of an advantage. Being a part of a college program and getting acclimated to that environment is a benefit and hopefully it will be an easy transition for him to be at Liberty.”
Doyle said he is flexible and willing to play wherever the coaching staff can use him.
“I watched Liberty play this season and saw that they were very selfless with the ball, so I think I will fit in really well,” said Doyle, who is as adept at playmaking as he is finishing. “I think should be able to find my place in the offense, and I definitely want to come in and help the team win some games and hopefully contend for a national championship.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer