Girls Volleyball: Murtagh a force on the block in Sacred Heart’s win over Lowell

Sacred Heart Cathedral freshman middle blocker Madison Murtagh makes contact with an attack against Lowell on Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Ryan Kuhn

Sacred Heart Cathedral freshman Madison Murtagh can now say she’s out-blocked an entire team by herself.

On Thursday against visiting Lowell High School, Murtagh finished with seven blocks, one more than the entire Cardinals team combined in Sacred Heart’s 25-17, 25-14, 25-8 non-league victory.

Lowell senior Bailey Armstrong tries to get a ball past a pair of Sacred Heart Cathedral blockers on Thursday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Eric Luis)

Sacred Heart (7-0) started the first game trailing by three points early but then quickly answered back with a nine-point run highlighted by two kills apiece from Courtney Wong, Daniella Chrismani and Stephanie Lee.

“Our seniors have done such a great job creating a great team dynamic,” said Sacred Heart head coach Margi Beima, who is in her eighth year coaching the Irish. “I feel that regardless who is on the floor, the whole bench is behind them.”

Junior outside hitter Sarah Jones added four kills of her own and despite a late run to bring the Cardinals (4-3) within six points, the Irish held on to win the first game.

“We had to stay focused because Lowell was a good team, and if you let them back into the game and not keep up the pressure, then they can chip away at you,” Beima said.

Murtagh proved that she could also perform on offense as she scored five kills in the second game, as the Irish got out to a fast start.

Jones added another four kills to put Lowell into a deep hole in the second game, and the Irish went on to win the second easily, taking control of the match. The Cardinals would never be able to recover, as they only scored eight points in the third and final game.

“As a team we have a lot to learn,” said Lowell head coach Steven Wesley. “It has nothing to do with who we play against or anything. It’s how they play with each other and trust each other. That pretty much sums up our match.”

Despite the lopsided result, Wesley found positives in the Cardinals’ defensive effort.

“There was a lot of hustle in the back row,” he said. “In terms of digging, our defense was good.”

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