TELEGRAM & GAZETTE: "Morse, Foley, Murphy chase national title with Stonehill"



BY: Jennifer Toland Colleges

Sarah Morse's Oakmont Regional field hockey team made three appearances in the state championship, and Jennifer Foley and Rachel Murphy were members of Notre Dame Academy's 2008 state finalist team, so this trio has played in some big games before.

Now Stonehill teammates, they are two wins from a national title.

"At Notre Dame, I thought going to the state championship was amazing," Murphy said, "but being in this position right now, it's kind of surreal."

The Skyhawks, who won the Northeast-10 Conference tournament, will face LIU Post in an NCAA Division 2 Tournament semifinal Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner moves on to Saturday's championship game.

"It's awesome," Foley said. "We're so excited."

Stonehill beat LIU Post, 1-0, in the NE-10 final. Morse, a sophomore midfielder from Westminster, assisted on teammate Emily Sideris' second-half goal.

"We'll be ready to take them on again," Morse said, "and we know we can do it because we beat them before. Having to play them again we know we can do it."

Morse, a former Mid-Wach League MVP who helped Oakmont to the state title game her freshman, junior and senior seasons, leads the Skyhawks with 12 assists.

"She's one of our strongest players," said Murphy, a junior midfielder. "She's definitely someone in the backfield you can count on to come up with the ball defensively, and offensively her stick skills are very good. It's going to be cool to watch her continue to grow as a player the next two years."

Murphy, of Worcester, missed her junior season at NDA due to a torn ACL, but came back strong and was named to the T&G Super Team as a senior. Still, she wasn't sure if she would play field hockey in college. Her best friend Foley, who graduated the year before, was a big influence in Murphy going to Stonehill.

"Seeing Jenny at Stonehill and she was telling me about the school and the team, and after talking to her and looking at the school, here I am," Murphy said. "It's one of the best choices I ever made."

Foley, a senior forward from Holden, was the 2011 NE-10 Rookie of the Year and this year is a co-captain.

"Notre Dame layed a great foundation for the beginning of my field hockey career," Foley said. "It gave me the skills, and I found my love of the game at Notre Dame. It also made an easy transition to Stonehill. Here, we're a close-knit team like we were at Notre Dame. (The college level) is more competitive, but I think I was ready for that next step once I was a senior at Notre Dame."

Getting to share this experience with Murphy has made it even more special.

"Being on both teams together and being so successful this year," Foley said, "it's been great."

NDA coach Patty Provost has continued to be a huge supporter of her two former players. Provost has been to a number of Stonehill games this year, and sends Foley and Murphy encouraging text messages every week.

"She comes to a lot of games, decked out in purple (Stonehill's color), and she follows us the whole way," Murphy said. "Miss Provost takes her sports pretty seriously. She has that spirit. It makes us happy."