Many in the Keene State College athletic community would like to believe that there are some very conscientious, determined and motivated athletes who have chosen to play on various sports teams this year.
However, one athlete in particular who has demonstrated to both her coach and teammates that she belongs on the court this year is KSC sophomore, volleyball player Jess Murray. Last season, Murray attended walk-on tryouts as a freshman for the team, only to be told that there had not been enough spots for her and another freshman to play that year.
But Murray was offered a position as the team’s manager. Leaving the young athlete with some hope to linger on, head KSC Volleyball Coach Bob Weiner reassured Jess that if she stuck around, she would get to play with the team in the spring season, which is exactly what she did. “It’s my favorite sport, and I’m just here to play,” she said.
Murray added, “I always just try to work as hard as I can in practice everyday, and if I’m needed in the game then I’m always ready to play.” Sophomore friend and teammate Bridget Goodwin had an interesting mix of thoughts to add in regards to Murray’s determination. “I think it’s a difficult thing when someone has to take stats for an entire season, and doesn’t get the privilege of having a uniform,” Goodwin said. Goodwin added, “It shows a lot about her as a person that she was willing to go through all of that and still come back and work just as hard as everyone else.”
Goodwin also pointed out that Jess also has an impeccable volleyball IQ on the court, and knows a lot about the game in general, which sets her apart from some of the other girls on the team. “She will always tell you, ‘Oh tip here, this shots open, or look how the other team set up their defense.’ She is able to see the other team better than most other people.” Another reason Goodwin attributes to Murray’s success is the fact that she consistently kept up with lifts and conditioning, as well as practices with no complaints, which represented her passion for the sport.
“It shows her dedication and commitment to the team that she continued to keep up and work as hard as she did to come back, not knowing whether or not she would have a spot this year,” Goodwin said. Weiner had a few of his own insights to further support this unique triumph. Weiner said that this story was one in which many were interested in, because it represented the true strength and persistence of an athlete who was not ready to give up.
“We’ve got a couple girls who just show up and play hard every day and throw themselves on the floor, and seem to love it,” Weiner said. He added, “Jess is one of them, and she sets an example for new freshman on the team.” Weiner also mentioned that what their team needed this year was a passer, and that Jess was a “legitimate, quality passer at the Division III level.”
“The fact that Jess shows up everyday and does her work, does what she’s supposed to do without complaining, sets an example to be repeated for the team, that doesn’t go unnoticed,” Weiner said.
By the looks of it, Murray won’t be giving up that determination anytime soon.
Lindsay Krisel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org