WAVERLY — Stacking the defensive backline with quality players and figures is essential to success — especially considering the pace of the game of soccer, and the amount of endurance it takes to play a full 90-minute affair.
Former Waverly High School standout Breanna Murphy is certainly among those quality players who has proven that she can handle an extended workload defensively — and thrive in the role.
The former all-SOC talent, who took a year away from soccer after graduating from Waverly in order to focus her studies as a full-time student, will return to the pitch at Shawnee State — beginning with the 2020 academic year on forward.
For Murphy, the opportunity to return to the pitch to pursue one of her most passionate hobbies is certainly a chance that she is grateful for.
“Signing with Shawnee State to play soccer is excellent,” Murphy said. “I’m able to play with other great athletes who share the same passion for the sport as I do, and work with coaches who will coach me and push me to do my best. I took a year away from soccer, but during that time, I realized that the sport was part of my life. I really missed playing soccer. I am thrilled to return to the soccer pitch and represent the school that I love.”
Growing up in nearby Waverly, Murphy was part of a new movement — not only at Waverly High School but in the Southern Ohio Conference as a whole.
Prior to 2013, only Minford had developed a varsity soccer program for females over the entire conference.
By 2015, however, four additional schools had joined Minford in its quest to develop female soccer players.
In Murphy’s freshman year, Waverly began its first season of varsity competition, following Northwest and Portsmouth West (2013) and Wheelersburg (2014) as the teams to establish SOC soccer programs for females.
In Waverly’s first two seasons of existence, the Tigers won five games combined according to the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association (OSSCA) — as the young roster allowed 4.8 and 3.33 goals-against-average in 2015 and 2016.
However, after two years of hard knocks, the team began to greatly improve.
In Murphy’s junior season, Waverly’s defense dropped its GAA to a OSSCA-reported 2.56 as the Tigers swept Minford, Northwest and West in SOC II competition — and pitched five shutouts on the year.
They then really turned up the heat in 2018, as Waverly dropped its goals against average mark to a scant 1.05, while scoring a school-record 4.65 goals per contest.
During Murphy’s senior season, the Tigers pitched nine blank sheets and only allowed more than two goals per contest in three affairs en route to a 14-4-1 season and the school’s first-ever OHSAA Division II sectional championship.
Murphy scored seven goals and added in four assists from an offensive standpoint, rounding out the Tigers’ school-standard season to date.
For her efforts as a backline talent, Murphy was able to obtain first-team all-SOC honors and second-team all-Southeast District accolades in each of her final three seasons of competition.
She had successfully helped build Waverly into a serious player in the soccer spectrum.
In her first year at SSU, Murphy has focused on her classwork to a successful tune as a whole.
She holds a 3.11 GPA as an exercise science major and holds nearly 60 hours of academic credit to her name already — which puts her nearly a full year ahead of her fellow high school counterparts from the Class of 2019.
“I’m attracted to Shawnee State because of the great educational and sports environment that is provided to the students and athletes,” Murphy said. “When I took classes in high school, the entire staff and faculty were extremely helpful in getting me accustomed to the college life. That’s been huge for me.”
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