Thursday, April 17, 2014
By Steve Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTBROOK — Beth Murphy considered field hockey her third sport when she was an athlete at Westbrook High.
It was in track and field and basketball where she won state titles (a young Lisa Blais helped, too). Murphy played basketball at the University of Maine from 1979-83 until felled by a knee injury.
But once she started coaching at Westbrook, field hockey quickly moved into top-priority status.
“I just got into it and the passion was even more so than the other sports,” Murphy said.
Last Thursday, Murphy’s overachieving Blue Blazes claimed their eighth win of the season, 3-0, on Senior Day against Biddeford. It also marked Murphy’s 200th victory in her 23 seasons as varsity coach.
After the game she was presented a plaque by Westbrook Athletic Director Marc Sawyer commemorating the event.
Murphy knew the win would be a milestone. She thought she had kept it from her team.
“I was the one that told our team right before the game,” senior forward Micaela Le-Beau said. “We knew it was a big game for us, but mostly we wanted to win for Beth because it was a big game for her.”
LeBeau did her part, scoring two goals. Like many of her teammates, she is a product of the Westbrook youth program started by Murphy.
“She’s developed a really great program and she knows when to be serious and when to get things done, and she also fools around with us and jokes around with us. She’s a really well-rounded person. A great coach,” LeBeau said.
“It’s a great feat but for me it still comes down to the kids,” Murphy said. “The relationships with the two to three hundred kids that have played for me. That’s what I get out of it.”
Westbrook has never won a state or regional final under Murphy. It reached the 2008 Western Class A final when Murphy’s daughter, Erin, was a senior but injured. (Beth and Mike Murphy, the Deering High girls’ basketball and golf coach, have three children; Meaghan, 25; Erin, 22, and Sean, 20.)
But Westbrook has become a program that consistently competes at a high level. This year’s team is an example of many of her squads. They have played with consistency and exceeded expectations.
“We feel our kids are playing beyond their talent. They have that belief that we’re going to win because they have in the past,” said Debbie Henry, Murphy’s longtime assistant coach.
“Beth’s greatest thing is that she really has a passion for field hockey and that’s kind of caught on in Westbrook. We have kids that want to play.”
TUESDAY’S GAME between York (13-0-0) and North Yarmouth Academy (11-1-1) in Yarmouth pits two of the state’s top-ranked teams. York is No. 1 in Western Class B and NYA is No. 2 in Western Class C. ... Observers may have noticed that York was elevated to the No. 1 slot among area teams. The Wildcats did not allow a shot on goal last week in a pair of quality wins, beating Cape Elizabeth 5-0 and Lake Region 3-0.
Scarborough’s 1-1 tie against Cheverus last Thursday was its first non-win against a Western Class A opponent since 2011. The Red Storm converted one of 16 penalty corners. “We made our mistakes for sure. There were a couple of lapses in intensity, a couple lapses in making our own mistakes,” Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello said. “We have to work harder the next time and hope you have the situation and execute the next time.”
Cheverus vaulted to fourth in the Western Class A Heal point standings, enough to get the final first-round bye if the rankings hold. ... Regional preliminary games are Saturday, and the regional quarterfinals are next Wednesday and Thursday.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: