Aug. 24, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com ) - With eight newcomers, including seven freshmen, on the UCF volleyball roster this season, libero Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) knows that she needs to impress head coach Todd Dagenais and the coaching staff with her skill and hard work to earn herself a spot on the floor come Aug. 28, when the Knights' open their season against Jacksonville at The Venue at UCF.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Murphy earned a named for herself not only in the state of Texas, but nationally as an elite volleyball player, earning the District 25-4A Co-Defensive Player of the Year distinction as a senior, as well as being selected to the 2008 Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A All-State and Academic All-State teams.
Murphy was named the 2007 Texas District 25-4A Newcomer of the Year, before prepvolleyball.com place her on its Dandy Lion's Honorable Mention list as well as earning the site's 2008 All-Texas Team Special Recognition.
The libero not only earned honors for her play at the high school level, but she also played for one of the top club volleyball programs in the nation, the Austin Juniors 18 Mizuno. While with the Austin Juniors, Murphy helped her squad take first place at both the 2008 Tour of Texas Qualifier and the Southwest Nationals, while also grabbing second-place honors at the Las Vegas Classic, Mid-East Qualifier and the Lonestar Classic.
Murphy recently talked with UCFAthletics.com so fans could learn a little bit more about her.
What made you originally start playing volleyball?
"My sister played when I was younger and I used to go watch all of her games. So she really got me into it."
What made you choose to play volleyball at UCF?
"I really like the team and I like the area. I also like where the volleyball program is going. Coach Dagenais has a great plan and the program is building. That is what I wanted to be a part of."
What did you do this summer to prepare for your first season as a Knight?
"I actually did Cavs Course. It is this thing that my high school does for all of the football players and I was the only girl. It pretty much consists of weights, running and conditioning. Sort of like a circuit training workout. It was pretty hard core."
What is your favorite part about UCF so far?
"I love being in Orlando and I like how everything on campus is really close. But, right now, the team is probably my favorite part about being at UCF."
Do you think that you have improved since starting preseason camp?
"Definitely. I have learned so much in just the two weeks of preseason training camp. I feel like I am more focused defensively now and I know exactly where I need to be on the floor in different situations."
What has been your favorite drill in practice so far?
"I like passing with Helga, the ball machine. It's fun because it is hard sometimes and the ball comes really fast."
How have the upperclassmen helped you transition into the speed of the collegiate game?
"They have been telling me exactly what I need to do and have been leading by example. If they are being intense and hard-core they bring you up to their level."
What are you looking forward to most about the season?
"I am really excited to play at Baylor in a couple weeks because it is close to where I am from. I also have a feeling that we are going to be a pretty good volleyball team, so that is exciting."
What are your goals for the team this season? What are your individual goals?
"Like Coach Dagenais was saying, I really want us to make it to the NCAA Tournament and I definitely think that we can do that if we work hard. I would also like for the team to finish in the top of the conference. Individually, I just really want to improve, get better and more focused and do my part to help the team."
Murphy and the UCF volleyball team open the season in a mere four days at the Venue at UCF when they host the Radisson-UCF Invitational on Aug. 28.
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