Marist grad Mur­rihy off to good start in Mem­phis

Molly Mur­rihy, who led the Red­Hawks to the Class 4A state volleyball cham­pi­onship in 2017, is off to a pro­duc­tive col­le­giate start as a fresh­man at Mem­phis. That’s where she’ll be root­ing for her alma mater over the week­end

Daily Southtown - - FRONT PAGE - Tony Baranek abaranek@tribpub.com Twit­ter @TBaranek

Molly Mur­rihy, a 2018 Marist grad­u­ate who led the Red­Hawks to the Class 4A state volleyball cham­pi­onship in 2017, is off to a pro­duc­tive col­le­giate start as a fresh­man at Mem­phis. That’s where she’ll be root­ing for her alma mater over the week­end as Marist plays in the Class 4A semi­fi­nals.

Molly Mur­rihy is go­ing to be busy Fri­day.

The 2018 Marist grad­u­ate is the start­ing set­ter for Mem­phis, which will be play­ing in a home match against Con­necti­cut.

A large por­tion of Mur­rihy's heart, how­ever, will be in Nor­mal, where Marist will be play­ing against Benet in the Class 4A state semi­fi­nals.

A year ago, Mur­rihy led the Red­Hawks to the pro­gram's first state cham­pi­onship.

She'll be root­ing for them to re­peat.

“I'm ex­tremely sad that I can't make the match on Fri­day,” Mur­rihy said. “I've def­i­nitely been keep­ing tabs on what they've been do­ing all sea­son. I would give any­thing to be watch­ing them down­state.

“I could not be any prouder of the girls on that team. They've worked so hard day in and day out, from even be­fore the start of the sea­son to this point. This was their goal. I'm wish­ing them the best, for sure.”

Mur­rihy is hav­ing a mem­o­rable fresh­man sea­son at Mem­phis.

The 6-foot-tall set­ter has fit right into the re­build­ing pro­gram started by new coach Sean Bur­dette.

Mur­rihy has 872 as­sists for the Tigers (11-14), the sec­ond­high­est among set­ters in the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

In con­fer­ence matches she has 452 as­sists, which puts her at the top of the AAC leader­board. On de­fense, she's se­cond on the Tigers in digs with 200.

The faith Bur­dette had in her from the first day has been re­warded.

“She is do­ing very well,” Bur­dette said of Mur­rihy. “It's a learn­ing curve for any fresh­man in any po­si­tion, but at the set­ter slot there it is prob­a­bly much more so with ev­ery­thing you have to deal with.

“I had a chance to see Molly play through club sea­son last year, and I knew we had some­thing spe­cial here. She has done a real good job of go­ing out there and com­pet­ing and kind of tak­ing the reins.”

Through­out her ca­reer at Marist, it seemed as though Mur­rihy took her game from one level to the next. She was al­ways im­prov­ing, al­ways adding to her game.

In her se­nior sea­son, Mur­rihy broke a school record with 1,132 as­sists. She also was a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor in kills, digs and blocks. It was fit­ting that she had the fi­nal kill for the Red­Hawks in their vic­tory over Mi­nooka for the state cham­pi­onship.

It was a no-brainer to make her the Daily South­town 2018 Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

An­other per­son who isn't sur­prised by Mur­rihy's fast start at Mem­phis is Marist coach Jor­dan Vi­dovic.

“No, it's no sur­prise at all,” Vi­dovic said. “The set­ter spot is a tough spot to tran­si­tion into col­lege, but Molly had so much ex­pe­ri­ence with us. She set full-time for three years, and even from the strides she made in just her se­nior year shows kind of her drive and her abil­ity to im­prove.

“Even when she was al­ready at a re­ally high level, she found ways to put us over the top her se­nior year with her block­ing, with her de­fense and her set lo­ca­tion. I'm sure that's con­tin­u­ing where she's at, and I'm sure her coaches are just as happy as we were here.”

OK, some­body has to be sur­prised about all of this. Mur­rihy? Sure, at least a lit­tle bit.

“Com­ing in, al­though it didn't seem like it, I was re­ally ner­vous,” Mur­rihy said. “I just didn't know what to ex­pect. Ob­vi­ously, it's a much faster­paced game than high school and club, and kind of be­ing that fresh­man and be­ing put in the po­si­tion I was put into, it was a lit­tle bit in­tim­i­dat­ing.

“Be­ing the youngest player on the court was a cool feel­ing for sure, be­cause every­body had my back. But it's some­thing that you re­ally can't take for granted. You have to work hard.”

Mur­rihy doesn't know any other way.

BRAN­DON DILL PHOTO

Marist grad­u­ate Molly Mur­rihy, left, is a fresh­man on the volleyball team at Mem­phis. She has has 872 as­sists for the Tigers (11-14).

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