Melissa Margulies provides a stoic, character performance for Temptation

A three-time LFL champion, her greatest performance may have come in 2013. Although the season did not end with a championship, Margulies proved herself as one of the toughest and most admirable competitors in all of female football. Measuring in at only 5’3”, her 2013 season was nothing short of gigantic.

Photo by: Dave Samarzich

Photo by: Dave Samarzich

It may come as a surprise to fans to know that Margulies once worked for the AVP (pro volleyball) and the NFL Network. Hailing from Mammoth Lakes, California, she was also her team’s Most Valuable Player in soccer. In addition, she is also a personal trainer and has successfully completed training as an airlines attendant. One of the true renaissance women of the LFL, her diverse background and university education makes her a force to be reckoned with.

With the Los Angeles Temptation entering the 2013 season with the free agent acquisition of Liz Gorman, the proud franchise was confident it would march towards an unprecedented fourth consecutive title. An opening-day victory over superstar quarterback Heather Furr and the Chicago Bliss certainly was testament to those beliefs.

Injuries to mainstays such as Chloe Butler and then Gorman derailed the team’s ambitious efforts. Suddenly, a sense of urgency befell upon the franchise as the pressure of winning another title only mounted. Determined to pick up the slack was Margulies. Despite suffering a torn ACL and MCL in her knee, she placed the Temptation’s rushing attack on her shoulders.

Leading all players on the squad with 179 rushing yards (including an impressive 5.1 yards per carry), she accounted for 52% of the Temptation rushing attack. The next closest rusher was elite quarterback Ashley Salerno with 97 yards. Having had to grace the gridiron with a completely rebuilt knee, it was quite possibly the most courageous offensive performance in LFL history. Her 194 combined yards from scrimmage accounted for 35% of LA’s offense.

Her shining moment of the season may have come on June 29, 2013. With Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California hosting the 100th game in league history, it would come to be known as the Centennial Game. A convincing 42-26 win over the Las Vegas Sin began with a touchdown run by Margulies.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, her strong running game helped the Temptation march down the field while maintaining valuable clock possession. Such efforts resulted in Salerno finding Danielle Harvey for a passing touchdown and the 21-12 lead. Helping to draw the Vegas safeties on play-action with her rushing efforts, it allowed Salerno to complete crucial passes. Finishing the game with an impressive 76 rushing yards, Margulies was a key factor in the Temptation winning the landmark game while grabbing a postseason berth.

For hardcore LFL fans, many would have liked to have seen her season end with the Mortaza Award. Of note, it went to teammate Monique Gaxiola. Ironically, both have proud roots in the athletics program with the University of Southern California. While Gaxiola was a soccer star, Margulies competed in the 2007 Pac-10 Conference Championships in the 800-meter dash, while earning a spot on the 2007 Pac-10 All-Academic team.

While the highlight of her career came in a 2011 LFL postseason game against Chicago where she returned a kickoff for a touchdown, helping the Temptation erase a deficit, the 2013 season overall may have been just as remarkable.

For those who know Margulies, they would not be surprised by her character and determination. Although the 2013 season ended with a visceral postseason 19-12 loss on August 17 to rival Chicago, no one can deny the courage of Margulies. Providing a solid performance on offense with a rebuilt knee, she truly has the heart of a champion.

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