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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


From boys’ leagues to the NCAA Tourney, Courtney Murphy keeps scoring

Junior attacker Courtney Murphy (No. 18, above) pictured during a game on April 17. Murphy played goalie early in her lacrosse career, but now is one of the NCAA’s top scorers. BRIDGET DOWNES/THE STATESMAN

Courtney Murphy played goalie.

That seems like an unusual thing to say, given that the junior attacker is now one of the premier goal-scorers in the NCAA, but it happened.

“I always played a little bit of everything,” Murphy said. “My dad was my coach, so sometimes, I was honestly even thrown into goalie.”

Murphy started playing lacrosse at a young age, after her father saw her older brother, Steve, play in middle school.

“My older brother started when he was around in middle school,” Murphy said. “So once my dad saw [lacrosse] picking up for him, he ended up putting me and my younger brother in it too. When my older brother ended up playing at Notre Dame, my dad said, ‘Yeah, you guys are gonna have to play this’.”

Although she started at goalie, it did not take her long to find her comfort spot at attacker.

“When I first started playing, I was actually playing in a boys’ league with my brother,” Murphy said. “My dad was the coach so he said it made sense to play in a boys’ league. But towards the end of middle school and start of high school, that’s when I really started coming into my own as an offensive player.”

Murphy’s offensive success started to shine even brighter back during her career at William Floyd High School.

“She played very similar in high school to the way she does now,” Murphy’s former high school lacrosse coach Brian Midwinter said. “She was an extremely determined player, probably one of the most determined players to ever come through the William Floyd program. She was never satisfied in mediocrity.”

Midwinter saw the potential in Murphy to play college lacrosse back in her sophomore year of high school, the first year attention began to fall on Murphy.

“Her sophomore year was when she really started gathering attention,” he said. According to Midwinter, Notre Dame and Stony Brook were among the top contenders for Murphy at the time.

Fast forward a few years and she decided on Stony Brook, where she is now breaking records and scoring goals.

However, there was one person that was jumping at the opportunity to work with Murphy, or Murph as she calls her. That was sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller.

“I am a year younger than Murph, So when I was watching them play before I came to Stony Brook, it was the ‘Murph and Dorr Show’,” Ohlmiller added, referring to junior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke. “As a lefty, I couldn’t wait to get out there to work with them.”

Upon Ohlmiller’s arrival at Stony Brook, the relationship between the two blossomed quickly, as the duo has become close on and off the field.

“I think Murph has been a very big role model for me here,” Ohlmiller said. “She’s not the fastest person in the world, and neither am I, but I take advice on her dodging skills, and it helps both of our games.”

Her dodging skills, in fact, are what she has improved the most on over the course of her career at Stony Brook, according to head coach Joe Spallina.

“She used to be just a turn and shoot kind of player,” Spallina said. “But this year, her dodging skills have greatly increased and it shows on the field with more goals coming from her.”

Her dodging has helped and the results speak for themselves. Murphy currently averages five goals per game this season, topping the nation by more than a goal per game.

“It’s just to help my team win,” Murphy said. “I definitely try to make the most of my opportunities when I’m out there.”

Along with leading the nation in scoring average, she also has the record for most goals in Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse program history. 2013 graduate Demmianne Cook held the record of 158 goals in a career, and Murphy broke that record on March 19 with her fourth of five goals that game against Delaware.

“It was pretty cool,” Murphy said. “We were able to call a timeout, and my teammates were able to give me a hug but then I had to get back out there. It’s definitely a feeling of accomplishment.”

There was even a time when Cook and Murphy worked together. Cook was a volunteer assistant coach for Murphy’s first two seasons, and she and Murphy worked together a lot.

“We definitely have a great relationship,” Murphy said. “I would get close to breaking the record for most goals in a game, eight goals, and she would tell Joe, ‘Gotta take Murph out’.”

The records are never her first priority when it comes to lacrosse, however. Murphy looks to put her team in the best possible position to win games. If she breaks records in the process, those are a bonus to her, and her teammates take that as her being a leader.

“I think I speak for the rest of the girls when I say Murph is such a leader on the team,” Ohlmiller said. “We could be up 15 goals, or in a close match, and she’s going hard to the cage each possession and she’s always amped up, and that’s what keeps us going.”

With the regular season winding down, all eyes are set on the America East Tournament and a possible NCAA tournament bid. Murphy looks to lead them to the promised land.

“Our main goal is to go out there and win,” Murphy said. “We want to win the regular season, that way we can host the conference tournament at home in front of family, friends and fans. That will be a cool experience.”

With Saturday’s win against Albany, Stony Brook achieved this goal, the first of many. Murphy and the Seawolves will host the America East Tournament, beginning May 6.

Expect Murphy to do what she has done all season, and all career long: score goals.

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