By Taylor McNitt
From the land Down Under comes a player who is rising up top — freshman Maddy Murphy is taking Iowa field-hockey by storm.
Last week, the Big Ten named her Freshman of the Week, and shortly after, she was named to the Australian Indoor World Cup Team.
“We’ve done a lot of training camps and stuff over the last three years since the last World Cup,” Murphy said. “The women’s Australia team actually do pretty good; they’re one of the top 10. We had nationals last year and a tour to Europe. We went through Berlin, and Belgium, and stuff last year, and then they picked the team in July this year, and I was lucky enough to make it.”
In February 2018, the Indoor Hockey World Cup will be held in Berlin. The top-12 men’s and women’s field-hockey teams will take part in the tournament.
“We are excited and extremely proud of Maddy’s selection to the Australian team for the upcoming Indoor World Cup,” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “It is a great honor and one that she is very deserving of. She has done a fantastic job representing her country on the international stage in the past. We look forward to Maddy continuing to gain great experience and to representing both Australia and the Hawkeyes this winter.”
Beyond being named as a valuable player for Australia, Murphy has also been recognized as a valuable player for the Hawkeyes by the Big Ten.
As it currently stands, Murphy is second on the team in goals (6), points (15), and shots (17), and she’s tied for third in goals and fourth in points in the Big Ten overall.
“She’s an amazingly skilled player,” Cellucci said. “Her speed, her athleticism, and just her elimination and ball-handling skills are outstanding.”
Considering all of this, Murphy’s beginnings are actually quite humble.
“My dad is the one who got me involved at the very beginning,” she said.
Murphy’s father played field hockey in college, and after initially playing soccer, Murphy decided to give hockey a try in sixth grade.
“My best friend and I made a team up in primary school, and I just loved it — I fell in love with it, and just haven’t stopped playing it since,” she said.
Since then, Murphy has played on state and national teams.
“Back home, I played with ladies who are about 50, down to 12-year-olds on my team,” she said. “Here, [the age difference is] 18 to 24, so I guess it’s a lot different than the structures we play, the way we play. There’s a different focus on being more physically fit here.”
Murphy has adjusted well to playing at the American college level, and Cellucci showed her excitement about having Murphy on the team for the next few years.
“We knew recruiting her, it would be a huge get to have her come to Iowa,” Cellucci said. “It has been proven so far, and I think she’s going to continue to keep getting better. Off the field, [she’s] just a dynamic personality. Very easy to get along with everybody, constantly laughing, just brings the mood up. [She’s] just a wonderful person to have on the team, and we’re really glad she’s a Hawkeye.”