Murphy sets self up to succeed
By FRANK PASTOR, Times Staff Writer
Waiting for the right time to join varsity was key for Hernando's setter.
Published October 28, 2003
BROOKSVILLE - As always, Brittni Murphy knew when to pass.
Before last season, Hernando coach Dena Frye offered Murphy, an up-and-coming sophomore, the chance to play varsity.
But Murphy, knowing senior Kristi Langworthy was established at setter and would see the majority of playing time, declined.
"I knew I wouldn't set as much," Murphy said. "Even though I could practice a little and get better that way, I'd have more playing time on JV."
In the end, Murphy got the best of both worlds.
She improved her overall game as a junior varsity player, then was promoted to varsity after Langworthy was injured late in the season.
Now a junior, Murphy is not only a varsity regular, but the linchpin for Hernando (19-3), which enters this week's Class 3A, District 6 tournament as the top seed.
"She's definitely the nucleus," Frye said. "If, God forbid, she gets hurt or something, I think the team would pretty much fall apart."
Murphy proved her value in Thursday's 25-19, 19-25, 25-15, 25-19 win over Crystal River that gave Hernando a share of its fifth Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship in Frye's six seasons. The Leopards tied Crystal River and Central for first place.
Murphy, 5 feet 7 with an excellent vertical leap, was moved to the front row to take away Crystal River's height advantage. She responded with nine kills and several blocks, as Hernando beat Crystal River for the first time in three tries this season.
It's a formation Hernando might continue to use in the district tourney.
"We tried it during practice and did it the past two games, so I got a little bit used to it," Murphy said. "At first I didn't like it, but once I played it for a little while it was easy to adjust to."
It was no surprise Murphy adjusted quickly. She comes from a volleyball family and considers herself a student of the game.
Her mother, Sue, coached volleyball at Hernando Christian Academy for years before returning to the school to start a cross country program this fall. Her father, Dan, played in college and has been a referee for college and high school matches. Her sister, Meghan, played as a seventh- and eighth-grader at HCA.
In her spare time, Brittni reads volleyball magazines and watches matches on television.
"I really want to play in college," Murphy said.
Murphy played in front of college scouts last year with the elite Tampa Bay Juniors club team. She made an even bigger impression this summer at the Florida Southern camp, where she was the only one of 19 Hernando players named to the all-star team.
After seeing the quality of players in Division I, Murphy said she would be thrilled to play for a Division II school.
Given the opportunity, you can be sure she won't pass.
"Whatever comes my way," Murphy said, "I would be happy."
- Frank Pastor can be reached at 800 333-7505, ext. 1430. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
INTRODUCING: BRITTNI MURPHY
GPA: 3.8 weighted cumulative at end of 2002-2003 school year.
ACTIVITIES: Interact, Class of 2005, National Honor Society, Beta Club, volleyball, weightlifting, track.
FAVORITE FOOD: Mashed potatoes.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: One Tree Hill.
FAVORITE MOVIE: 10 Things I Hate About You.
INTERESTS: Shopping, hanging out with friends.
FUTURE: Hopes to play volleyball and study sports management in college.
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