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Murdock’s return a plus for Pride volleyball

The senior middle blocker will be a presence in Pitman’s quest for CCC title

Murdock’s return a plus for Pride volleyball

Pitman High's Maci Murdock is an undeniable force on the volleyball court from her 6-foot frame to her enthusiasm for her Pride teammates.

POSTED September 14, 2010 9:40 p.m.

Pitman High senior middle blocker Maci Murdock is a can’t-miss presence anytime she’s on the volleyball court. There are a number of reasons why.

There’s the fact that she’s 6 feet tall, allowing her to see the top of people’s heads. There’s the fact that she’s usually one of the most vocal players around, screaming in excitement whenever she or a teammate does something well. There’s also the fact that her skills appear to be more advanced than her opponents’, as her arms and head can rise well past the net for a kill.

“I think we’re lucky to have her,” teammate and senior setter Annabel Perez said. “She’s a great player and we need her on the team.”

Murdock didn’t play her junior season because of the hurt ankle she suffered during the preseason. It didn’t affect her future at all, though, as she garnered interest from numerous colleges across the country — Norte Dame and Duke, for examples — before settling with Fresno State, a school that allows her to stay close to family in Turlock.

She has yet to sign her letter of intent, but she’ll do that in November. By then, she hopes to be in the middle of helping lead her Pitman team to a deep playoff campaign. It’s already been said that the Pride are the team to beat in the Central California Conference, which begins today at home against Golden Valley High at 6 p.m.

That expectation is set because of Murdock and the talent that surrounds her, such as Perez and junior outside hitter/defense specialist Ashley Solis.

“I think we’re all really positive as a team and we’re really encouraging to each other,” Murdock said. “We have great talent and we get along so well. And we agree that we’re gonna go so far. We all have the confidence going in and winning the CCC.”

So far, the Pride have produced a 12-3 overall record. Many more wins are expected, and that’s because Murdock is on the roster.

It was unexpected to not have Murdock around last season. But she made up for it during club volleyball season, considered a more attractive landscape for potential college coaches. She made her presence known at that level via Rage Volleyball.

After she went on “unofficial” visits to San Jose State, Fresno State and Santa Clara, she chose the Bulldogs because of the coaching staff and the 80-mile separation that will allow her to come back home on the weekends. She then went on to have more success at the club level, highlighted by her Rage Volleyball team run at the USA Volleyball Nationals. She helped her squad to a fifth-place finish during the two-week tournament and earned all-tournament selection.

After all that, she’s ready for high school volleyball.

Pride coach Kristen Pontes said Murdock is the most recruited player in Pitman’s brief volleyball history, adding that the senior middle blocker is expected to be an outspoken leader, even when it comes to the little cheers the team does after every score.

“ I’d say that she doesn’t think she’s better than anyone else,” Pontes said. “She’s definitely humble, but I’d say she excels on the court. She’s a great role model for the girls. Everyone wants to achieve a high standard and play hard. And I think she makes everyone want to play hard.”

It’s tough not to when a can’t-miss presence like Murdock is around.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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