Going into her freshman year, Kat Murphy had little, if no volleyball experience under her belt. Three years later, Murphy has become a team leader for Bel Air High with her skill, voice and heart.
“Kat is a true leader on the court,” Bel Air coach Tim Markland said. “She has a lot of emotion and we preach playing with emotion on the court. She simply is that.”
For the past three years, the Bobcats have participated in the region playoffs, but it wasn’t till 2009, with the help of Murphy, that the Harford County school advanced to the second round with a three-game win over county rival Edgewood.
“Volleyball is often a game of momentum, and there are times where you go up a few points and times where the other team goes on a streak, and there has to be a point where you stop that and fight back,” Markland said. “Kat, above all the other players, really exemplifies that. She keeps the girls on course and keeps her composure and focus on the court during the matches.”
On a team of just four seniors, Murphy has become a motivator for eight underclassmen in addition to her three senior teammates, and through her physical abilities and mental toughness, she does so while maintaining numerous other extracurricular activities.
A member of the French Honor Society and Varsity Club, Murphy maintains a 3.6 GPA while holding an editor position with the school newspaper, all of which she credits for hr motivational traits.
“Extracurricular activities really help me to get a long with people and help motivate,” Murphy said. “Volleyball is a communication sport. If someone isn’t keeping everyone’s heads up, then everyone is going to have their heads down. I try to be that person while encouraging others to be that person as well.”
When most athletes get home from a game or practice, their parents might ask them how it was and leave it at that. But for Murphy, daughter of the Archbishop Curley football coach, Sean Murphy,
she sometimes gets a little “extra coaching” from home.
“Having my dad there to see me and support me is great,” said Kat Murphy. “I look up to my dad. He’s who I get my athleticism from, and I just want to be impressive.
I like it when he comes up to me and says, ‘You had a really good game. Congratulations.’ That really means a lot to me.”
But as with any athlete, there has to be some motivator to constantly improve their game, and Kat’s father also doubles in that role.
“He really pushes me,” Murphy says. “I might get a little bit of the, ‘You should have had that play,’ or, ‘You have to get down on the floor more,’ but I always remember what he says and apply it to the
net game, and it usually turns out positively.”
Murphy plans to take her volleyball skills to the next. She’s considering Shepard University in West Virginia.
“We will see how things go along there, and hopefully they come out positively,” said Murphy.
But no matter where she goes, Murphy says she will take all that she has learned from her time on the court.
“I went in after ninth grade having never played before, and it was a really positive experience for me,” Murphy said. “It has taught me a lot about sports and life in general.”