By Jim Hintelmann
LITTLE SILVER – After playing soccer since she was 8 years old, Red Bank Regional’s Murphy Davis decided to try lacrosse when she reached seventh grade.
It proved to be a wise choice and the result was a brilliant scholastic lacrosse career at Red Bank Regional where she finished at No. 2 on the all-time scoring list at the school.
“Actually, my mom talked me into playing lacrosse and signed me up with a team,” said Davis, who scored 261 career goals and only trailed record-holder Brie Moran, who finished with 365.
“I was nervous at first and was against playing lacrosse,” Davis said. “Now, I’m so happy I did it.”
Red Bank finished with an 11-9 record this spring, but the record is misleading since the Lady Bucs played a major schedule.
“We played schools like Red Bank Catholic, St. John Vianney, Rumson and Ocean Township,” said Davis, who will be attending Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., this fall.
“It’s fun playing the good teams,” she said. “It’s also more rewarding if you can beat them.
“I knew that this would be a challenging season because we had lost a lot of good seniors from the previous year,” Davis said. “However, we got ourselves together and had a good year.”
One of the biggest games for the Lady Bucs was against rival Red Bank Catholic. Although RBR lost, 12-8, Davis saw a lot of good things in the game.
“We got ourselves together for the first time in that game. RBC had a great team and great players, but we had a lot of offense in that game and it showed what we were capable of doing.”
Davis scored 101 goals this season, including a career-high 11 goals against Long Branch, but her best game came in a tough loss to Lower Cape May in the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group II state tournament.
“We were losing by 11 goals at halftime,” Davis said. “We had underestimated them but then we put everything together in the second half. I scored seven goals, but we never caught up and lost by three goals. That was upsetting, but it showed how hard we had to work in order to come back from such a big deficit.
“During the summer, I worked out” at an area gym. “That helped me out in my senior year,” she said.
“Murphy has a great knowledge for the game,” lacrosse coach Ashley Schulte said. “She can score goals but she also teaches the other players on the team.”
Although lacrosse was her major sport, Davis still played soccer in high school and was a four-year varsity starter.
“We had a new soccer coach this year, Rich Tucker. He was a good coach and it was fun playing for him. I played midfielder and it was my favorite position because you can be involved in everything, both offensively and on defense,” Davis said. “We had a good season, even though we had only four seniors on the team.”
Davis had some big moments in lacrosse as a junior, including scoring her 100th career goal in a game against Long Branch, but the highlight of her season came in a state tournament game against Hopewell Valley.
“We were losing by a goal when I scored with 3 seconds remaining to tie the game and force overtime,” she recalled. “In the overtime, I scored the winning goal with a second remaining. It was so exciting. It was one of those moments in sport when all the hard work and effort you put in pays off.
“I was able to run over to Mom and then there was a pileup on the field by the team,” she said. “I think this team was our best because we had some great seniors and it was great playing with my best friends.”
Davis was a good student with her best subject being English. She was a member of the National Honor Society.
Davis looked at many colleges, including Elon, Fordham and Providence, before finally deciding on Clemson.
“I fell in love with the school and the school spirit,” she said. “Everybody was so friendly down there. I’ll major in business and marketing, and probably minor in psychology.
“I might try some coaching when I get out of school because sports has been such a big part of my life and I want to keep being involved.”
When Davis looks back at her high school career, it is filled with many happy memories.
“High school was fun and very memorable,” she said, ”I’m grateful to all of my teachers and coaches. They really motivated me.”