Don't Mess With Texas

Oct. 2, 2009

By Stephanie Hayes

Meredith Murphy is certainly making her mark on the UCF volleyball team. A native Texan, the freshman libero is already a starting player in her first season as a Knight, displaying her talent with every play she makes.

"I just know I need to be focused at all times," said Murphy. "There's no taking breaks ever. I need to be on top of everything, physically and mentally."

Murphy made the decision to attend UCF for a number of reasons, citing the building program as a big element in what attracted her to the university.

"I really like the team and I like the area," she said. "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."

Now here in Orlando, Murphy is a long way from her hometown of Austin, Texas. However, her busy schedule of classes and volleyball practice, along with a supportive team standing by her, allow the freshman to keep from noticing the distance. Though it is difficult to see her family very often, she notes that even if she were playing for a school closer to her home, the time demands that volleyball places would prevent her from traveling home to visit anyway.

The Knights' season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster thus far. The team opened the year five-consecutive wins, but has recently been faced with a more difficult schedule. This, along with recent injuries on the team, has prevented UCF from performing as well as it would like in terms of wins and losses. However, the team, along with Murphy, are taking the difficulties in stride and pushing forward.

"Really, it's just kind of taking it day by day," said Murphy. "Really supporting each other all the time, no matter what rotation is out there. Just making sure we're really positive about it. That's what we've been really good about. Its hard losing so many games in a row, but every-time we talk about it, it's 'Okay, we're going somewhere the next time.' It's been really positive in kind of a difficult situation."

Beyond volleyball, there is more to Meredith Murphy than meets the eye. While her defensive skills on the volleyball court may be entirely apparent to any volleyball fan, less known is the fact that she is pursuing a career in physical therapy. To accomplish this, she is majoring in pre-allied health sciences, adding a hefty load to her already demanding schedule. There are also a number more little known facts about the freshman. Hailing from Texas, the freshman is attracted to any food with a kick to it, especially that of the Mexican variety. Her iPod helps motivate her to perform on the court, and listening to it before each game puts her in the mindset to go out and display the skills she so obviously possesses.

The next chance for UCF volleyball fans to catch Murphy and the rest of the volleyball team in action at home is this Friday, Oct. 2. The game against UAB is set to begin at 7 p.m.