harper murray volleyball

Harper Murray Volleyball Career Stellar 2023 Season with the University of Nebraska Volleyball Team

Harper Murray volleyball, Harper Murray took the volleyball world by storm in 2023 as an outside hitter for the powerhouse University of Nebraska program. This in-depth article dives into Murray’s remarkable freshman year performance, exploring her journey from high school standout to NCAA national player of the year. Volleyball fans won’t want to miss these inside looks at one of the sport’s brightest young talents.

Who is Harper Murray? Harper Murray Volleyball Player

Harper Murray is an American volleyball player who joined the University of Nebraska women’s volleyball team in 2023 as a highly touted freshman outside hitter. She arrived in Lincoln after a decorated high school Volleyball career that saw her earn national accolades like the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. Murray was also a member of the U.S. Girls’ U19 and U18 national teams, helping the U18 squad earn a bronze medal in 2022.

How Did Harper Murray Get Involved With Volleyball?

Volleyball has been a lifelong passion for Harper Murray dating back to her early childhood years. She got her start playing the sport recreationally while growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and quickly fell in love with volleyball. As her skills developed over her school years, Murray joined elite club teams and began training with an eye towards someday playing in college and potentially at the professional or national team level.

What High School Did Harper Murray Attend?

harper murray volleyball

For her high school years, Harper Murray attended the prestigious Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. She was a four-year varsity starter and led Skyline to three state championship game appearances, winning titles in her sophomore and senior seasons. Murray holds the school records for career kills (2,409), digs (1,409) and service aces (286).

Harper Murray’s Recruiting Journey

Harper Murray was one of the most heavily recruited volleyball prospects in the nation for the class of 2023. She had her pick of essentially any college program and took official visits to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Texas, and Stanford among others. Ultimately, Murray chose to commit to the University of Nebraska, citing the elite level of coaching, championship culture, and her connection with head coach John Cook and his staff.

Harper Murray’s Freshman Season Highlights at Nebraska

harper murray volleyball

In a season full of highlights, these stood out as Harper Murray’s top performances and achievements in 2023:

  • Named National Freshman of the Year by NCAA Volleyball
  • AVCA First Team All-American
  • Big Ten Player of the Year
  • Led Nebraska to the NCAA semifinals
  • 605 kills (3rd most ever by Husker freshman)
  • .405 hitting percentage (program freshman record)
  • 86 aces, 409 digs, 125 total blocks

How Harper Murray Helped Lead Nebraska’s 2023 Season

Harper Murray made an immediate impact from day one as a six-rotation outside hitter who could totally take over matches offensively. Her diverse skill set including hitting for a blistering .405 clip, tough serving, and defensive grit made her one of the most complete freshmen in recent NCAA history. Murray formed a formidable 1-2 offensive punch alongside senior All-American outside Bekka Allick for a Nebraska team that won 30 matches and reached the NCAA semifinals before falling to national runner-up Texas.

What’s Next for Harper Murray’s Volleyball Career?

harper murray volleyball

With three years of college eligibility remaining, the volleyball world will be watching to see how much further Harper Murray can elevate her game at Nebraska. She has a great shot at becoming the first four-time All-American in program history while also setting her sights on leading the Huskers to NCAA titles. Down the road, playing professionally or for the U.S. Women’s National Team are likely goals as she continues her pursuit of being one of the all-time greats in American volleyball history.

What is Harper Murray Like Off the Court?

In addition to her volleyball prowess, Harper Murray has gained a strong following on social media for her fun-loving personality and commitment to inspiring young girls to chase their athletic dreams. She comes from an athletic family, as her younger sister Kendall is also an elite volleyball recruit. In her limited free time, Murray enjoys typical college student activities like hanging out with friends, movies, traveling, and sharing looks at her life through Instagram, TikTok and other platforms.

How Popular is Volleyball at Nebraska?

Volleyball is hugely popular in the state of Nebraska and especially in Lincoln, where the Huskers are essentially a way of life. The program has won five NCAA national championships under legendary head coach John Cook, most recently claiming the 2022 title. Nebraska consistently fills its home venue, the Devaney Center, creating one of the most raucous atmospheres in all of college sports. In 2023, the program welcomed Harper Murray as the next potential transcendent star.

Who Are Some Other Stars on the 2023 Nebraska Volleyball Team?

harper murray volleyball

While Harper Murray grabbed most of the headlines, she had plenty of help from talented teammates on Nebraska’s 2023 squad:

  • Bekka Allick (Senior Outside Hitter)
  • Nicklin Hames (Senior Setter)
  • Kenzie Knuckles (Senior Defensive Specialist)
  • Anni Evans (Junior Middle Blocker)
  • Whitney Lauenstein (Sophomore Opposite)
  • Bergen Reilly (Freshman Setter)

What Records Did Harper Murray Break in 2023?

In addition to setting new Nebraska freshman records for hitting percentage and aces in a season, Harper Murray broke or tied several other notable records:

  • 3rd most kills ever by a Husker freshman (605)
  • Tied school record for most games with 20+ kills in a season (16)
  • Set NU rally scoring era record for highest hitting % in a 5-set match (.630)
  • 5th most total points ever by a Husker freshman (692.5)

How Popular is Volleyball at the College Level?

Volleyball has exploded in popularity at the NCAA level over the past two decades. The sport now awards 64 bids to the annual championship tournament, with the finals selling out massive arenas like the 18,000-seat State Farm Center in Atlanta, site of the 2023 NCAA Semifinals and Finals. Increased television coverage and digital streaming of major games have also grown volleyball’s audience and mainstream recognition.

What is the Highest Level Harper Murray Has Played At?

Prior to Nebraska, the highest level Harper Murray had competed at was USA Volleyball’s Girls’ U19 and U18 national teams. In 2022, she helped the U18 squad win a bronze medal while playing alongside many of the top youth prospects in the United States. Her international resume and experience should serve her well as an professional career or run with the full U.S. Women’s National Team potentially awaits after her Nebraska days are done.

In summary, here are some key points to take away about Harper Murray’s spectacular 2023 volleyball season at Nebraska:

  • Sensational all-around freshman season, winning National Freshman of the Year
  • Set numerous school and NCAA statistical records
  • Formed elite 1-2 offensive punch with senior Bekka Allick
  • Helped lead Nebraska to the NCAA semifinals
  • Positioned herself for potential college player of the year awards over next 3 seasons
  • Future professional or U.S. National Team career seems likely

Murray is a once-in-a-generation talent who has Cornhusker fans buzzing over the potential for even bigger things ahead over her remaining three collegiate seasons in Lincoln. Her athleticism, skill, competitive drive and engaging personality should keep her among volleyball’s biggest rising stars to watch.

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