NEWTON — Her junior season hasn’t even started yet for Phillips Academy, but Ava Murphy keeps creating tidal waves in the country’s amateur field hockey community.
Just a month since already committing to last year’s Division I title runner-up Liberty University, Murphy led a power-packed showing from some of the nation’s best high school athletes Tuesday night in the Under Armour Select Game’s premier matchup at Boston College. Her two goals stood above the rest of the 30 rising upperclassmen invited from New England, the Mid-Atlantic or Mid-West, earning her MVP honors as part of Team Netherlands’ 5-3 win over Team USA.
NEWTON, MA – JULY 19 : Team United States Molly Driscoll gets control of the ball against Team Netherlands JULY 19, 2022 in NEWTON, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
It was just another impressive accolade for the former Rivers star, headlining a strong showing from a bevy of Massachusetts student-athletes competing across the invitational’s two games.
“It’s the coolest experience, I look forward to it every year,” Murphy said after playing in the select game for a third time. “It’s definitely my biggest thing I look forward to in the year.”
Murphy was one of eleven local players selected to compete in the second game, as the state was well-represented despite the invitational sorting through over 300 players to build rosters for the two matchups. That process includes choosing the best players from the three showcases covering each region. Watertown phenom Molly Driscoll, Hopkinton’s Camille Perlov and Tabor Academy’s Ava Lomberto scored the three goals for Team USA, while Bishop Feehan’s Ava Meehan also played well in the loss.
With much of the event’s coordination (College Connections) having ties to Boston College and UMass Amherst, it’s a hot-ticket invitational to many within New England. Elise Sohn (Concord-Carlisle), Riley Thurston (Governor’s Academy), Caelie Patrick (Manchester-Essex), Emily Huehn (BB&N), Megan Fuqua (Noble & Greenough) and Ayla Hallock (Ashland) were the other locals participating in the night game, rounding out what former BC coach and College Connections field hockey vice president Ainslee Lamb suggested to be a typical showing from Massachusetts.
This isn’t just any year, though, as the event continues to grow more interest in each of the region’s showcases in its fifth year. It’s also the year Under Armour has made its biggest efforts toward promoting it by becoming an official partner.
With over 140 colleges viewing the showcases and the select games, Lamb is incredibly excited over how this year’s episode has turned out and what it means toward the growth of promoting women in field hockey.
“It’s so exciting to see young women treated like being elite … the event is so great,” she said. “The showcases even in themselves provide incredible opportunity, and then to have the privilege to be invited to the Under Armour Select Game is just another opportunity. … This has been five years in the running and I would say every year it has gotten better and better and better.”