For Dow High’s Emma Murphy, the past year reads like a hall of fame resume.
State and national scoring records. … The opportunity to play for USA Lacrosse’s U18 national team in international competition. … Signing to play collegiate lacrosse at Notre Dame.
And those are just a few of Murphy’s recent accomplishments.
So, how does one top such an incredible run of success? That would be admittedly difficult, so Murphy is keeping her goals for her senior season pretty simple – keep on growing and keep on having fun.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. This team is just amazing. I’m having a great time,” enthused Murphy, a forward who led Midland-Dow’s girls’ lacrosse team to a first-ever berth in the state semifinals last spring.
“ … We’re definitely going to try making it as far or farther as we did last year,” she continued, adding of her personal goals for this season, “I just want to become a better player and get ready for college.”
Her desire to become “better” notwithstanding, Murphy is already pretty darn good – one of the best young lacrosse players in the country, actually.
During her junior season for Midland-Dow, Murphy racked up a remarkable 174 goals, which shattered the previous MHSAA single-season record, and her 9.7 goals per game were a national record. Along the way, she earned both All-America and Academic All-America honors and earned a spot on USA Lacrosse’s U18 team, with whom she helped Team USA go 4-0 at the USA Lacrosse Fall Classic last October.
Murphy said that the past year has been “crazy.”
“I’m so thankful for it. I honestly can’t believe all the hard work has paid off like this,” she said, adding of her development throughout high school, “ … I’ve grown as a player, but especially I’ve grown mentally. I’ve met so many amazing people, and I’ve just grown as a person. I’ve become so much more confident, and I’m just loving the game every single time I play.”
Cavaliers’ coach Stephanie Orth said it is “awesome” having Murphy on her team, while admitting that she sometimes catches herself becoming a spectator and a fan when Murphy is weaving her way past defenders and scoring from every conceivable angle.
“She is an incredible leader on the field and off. Girls just flock to her. People just want to listen to what she has to say, how she reacts on the field,” Orth noted with a smile. “We do get caught up just watching her play. It’s so easy – just watching her go out and do what Emma does.
“ … She is so quick on her feet. She makes split-second decisions that are just genius. … She can just weave in and out of people with such ease,” Orth added. “And her shot placement is great. She has worked so hard to be where she’s at today, and it definitely shows.”
While playing alongside a high-profile, high-scoring athlete might prompt some players to be a little bit jealous or even resentful, Murphy said that she and her teammates share a mutual respect and admiration for each other.
“Oh, no, absolutely not,” she replied when asked if she ever detects any friction on the team. “This team, we’re all a family. We love each other. We’re going to do anything for each other. We all have each other’s backs.
“ … It’s been amazing. This is one of the best teams I’ve ever been on,” she added with a big smile. “All of the girls are just amazing, and we have such a good time during practice and during games. I’m just having so much fun.”
Orth concurred, noting that Murphy goes out of her way to keep her teammates involved.
“Emma is probably the most humble person I’ve ever met for being as great as she is,” Orth said. “And the other girls just love that not only does she score, but she assists, too. She moves the ball around and understands what’s best for the team. I think that’s why there’s no jealousy or anything like that on this team.”
Murphy, who began playing lacrosse as a fourth-grader, said that she loves to compete and challenge herself.
“I just loved the competitiveness (when I started playing lacrosse), “ she said. “ … Pretty much any athletic thing I do, I’m pretty competitive. And (I’m competitive in) academics, too. I’ve always tried to push myself to be better.”