Fab frosh kickstarts Big Green
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it."
When you're in Jen Murray's soccer cleats, everything moves pretty fast. The electrifying freshman runs around campus almost as fast as on the soccer field. She cruised into lunch, and was gone before you knew it.
Many opponents have felt the same way all season as they see the #2 on the back of her jersey as she streaks toward the net.
She was pleased with the season despite the obvious disappointments, most notably, Sunday's 1-0 loss to Harvard, which eliminated the Big Green from an NCAA automatic tournament bid. She said, "Yeah, it was very frustrating because we were right there. We played them even. We just couldn't finish."
When asked if they were the best team the Green had seen, she said, "No way. Connecticut was amazing. They are just so fast, physically and with the ball. They are just too tough."
Murray, however, was able to finish most of the season, scoring five goals and two assists for 12 points on the year, including two game-winners.
She has been called both "explosive" and "dynamic" by opposing coaches and was touted as Ivy Rookie of the Week in late September. She most certainly, along with freshman netminder Kristin Luckenbill '01, will be among those nominated for Ivy Rookie of the Year, a title Jessica Post '00 brought to Hanover last year.
When asked about it she smiled, but deflected credit to Luckenbill. When asked about the best goalie she has faced she thought hard and then praised the keeper who faces her missiles every day in practice.
"I would have to choose Lucky. She is such a presence in the net. She is the best goalie I have seen all year," she said.
Murray seemed to be a pro at praising others and taking little for herself, she is probably used to it. Growing up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, she lettered in basketball, lacrosse, and, of course, soccer. She said she "grew up on soccer, my brother played and I just sort of stepped in after that."
She has stepped in beautifully as she is already in third place on this year's team in career points with 12 and is in second place on the team this season behind Melissa Roth '00 who has 16.
When prodded about helping another Green squad, she didn't rule out being a muliti-sport athlete.
"I don't think I am good enough at basketball, I have thought about lacrosse...I might, no, no I'm not going to play," she said. " I will miss them both, though."
For now, she said she wants to concentrate on the soccer team which she said "wasn't expected to do anything this year, but we proved them wrong."
She praised rookie coach Kelly Blasius-Knudsen '91 for bringing them together and said that "she is so nice, but when it's time to coach, she really knows her stuff."
Murray continually returned to the topic of Saturday's finale against the Columbia Lions in New York City. She said that the chances of earning an at-large bid was about one in a hundred, so they would have to win this weekend to qualify for an ECAC bid, a secondary tournament that Murray had aspirations of winning.
Murray has already tallied three goal in the defensively-oriented Ivy League early in the season, but has added four assists to her point total as the year has gone on, proving what a teammate recently tabbed, "her growing maturity."
Columbia is in the cellar of the Ivies, Murray was optimistic but cautious.
"They haven't played very well, but that is the sort of game you can lose if you are not careful," she said.
Taking nothing away from the team's current leadership, Murray spoke as she plays, with a type of poise and direction that is endemic of captains and of leadership. Behind Murray, Luckenbill, and Roth the team should be a very good one for the next couple of seasons.
The future looks extremely bright, especially on the front line for the Big Green with Murray as a constant there for the next three years. But the team and their fans should be aware of her talents now because as she flew by on her bike, I realized that all you need to do is blink and you might miss her.