Updated Fri, Apr 27, 2012 9:21 am
Updated Fri, Apr 27, 2012 9:21 am
Ohio Soccer added a game changing presence when former University of Dayton midfielder Maggie Murnane transferred to Ohio in January.
“Maggie has bolstered our offense quite a bit already,” said Ohio Soccer head coach Stacy Strauss, and it’s only the spring season.
Murnane is a versatile player; she played both forward and midfield for Dayton during the past two seasons. She appeared in 12 games as a freshman and six games as a sophomore at Dayton.
Although Murnane was getting decent playing time for the Flyers, something just didn’t feel right.
“Soccer has been a really big part of my life, but it just wasn’t working out at Dayton. When I decided to play soccer in college, I really wanted to go somewhere and make an impact. At Dayton I just lost the love for the game,” Murnane said.
Dayton is known as a winning program in the women’s soccer realm; the Flyers have won three straight Atlantic 10 Championships. However, even though she was winning, Murnane felt out of place in Dayton.
“It was exciting to be on a team that wins a lot, but towards my sophomore year, I felt like I wasn’t helping the team out,” Murnane said. “When they were winning, I was excited for the girls because I love them all to death, obviously I contributed, but it just wasn’t the same.”
Murnane was named to the Preseason Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team before her freshman year, and there was some pressure that came along with the honor.
“I feel like it played into my head, my confidence was up, but I hurt myself after the National Championship in early July. I couldn’t run for a week before preseason and I failed the fitness test,” said Murnane.
After failing the fitness test before her freshman season, Murnane was barred from participating in preseason training. The failed test took a toll on Murnane, she said, “I had to watch the team train and it put a damper on me. Ever since then I had to work my confidence back up.”
After starting her collegiate career on a bad note, Murnane was left confused about her role on the Flyers.
“I was unsure about why I wasn’t bonding with the team and why the coach couldn’t see me making an impact on the field,” she said. “That’s the main reason why I was so unhappy at Dayton; I didn’t see a role for myself on the team.”
Murnane was highly recruited coming out of high school. She played for Eclipse Select, a Chicago based club soccer team that is known for routinely producing great seasons. “We won two Regional Championships and won a National Championship in 2009; we went to the National Finals three years in a row,” said Murnane.
When Murnane was making her recruiting visits in high school, she ruled Ohio out. “I thought Ohio U was a huge school, and I didn’t want to go to a huge school,” she said. “I was just a kid and I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Nicole Amari, a goalkeeper for the Bobcats and former teammate of Murnane in high school, contacted Maggie and encouraged her to think about coming to Ohio after this past year's fall season.
“I got a message from Nicole and she said that she heard that it’s not working out in Dayton. She wanted to let me know that Ohio was going to lose ten seniors and that they would love to have me,” Murnane said.
Amari sparked Murnane’s interest in Ohio. Murnane also happened to run into Ohio’s head coach, Stacey Strauss, this past summer.
Murnane explained, “I saw Stacey at Regionals last summer with my old team, she saw me score a goal in the finals and told Nicole to invite me out for a visit.”
“When I came to check Ohio out, I instantly fell in love with it,” Murnane said.
Murnane has been playing with Ohio during the spring exhibition season and she has meshed well with the team. “The transition has been awesome,” said a smiling Murnane.
“I was just talking to my friend at home and I was telling her how much I love soccer again,” she said. “This new passion just came back to me.”
Marnane can already feel a difference with her new team; she is comfortable and happy playing soccer in Athens.
“I feel like I’m able to communicate with the coaches a lot better, they believe in me a lot more than I feel like they did at Dayton,” said Murnane. “Not to talk bad about Dayton, the coaches there were great and they knew what they were doing, but I just feel like on a one to one basis, this team knows what I can do to help them.”
Ohio went 9-12-3 last year, losing to Toledo in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament. The Bobcats struggled on offense last year, and Murnane is hoping to bring a breath of fresh air to the team.
“I want to make an impact, I want to be a person that the team can rely on to get it done,” Murnane said.
Murnane played in three National Championship games in high school and was a part of two Atlantic 10 Championships at Dayton. Needless to say, she brings a winning mentality to Ohio.
“I really want us to win the MAC,” she said. “I want everyone to understand that losing is not OK, it’s just not.”
Murnane, a former Flyer, has made a smooth landing in Athens and is looking forward to continuing her winning ways with the Bobcats.
As Murnane put it, “You shouldn’t have the mentality that losing is acceptable, you really have to take it to heart.”