Truckee volleyball: Kati Murphy receives scholarship to play at William Jessup University
The way Terry Stafford sees it, talent is a waste without a good attitude.
In Truckee senior Kati Murphy, the William Jessup University volleyball coach saw the perfect blend of skill and temperament.
“No. 1 is always attitude, and she had a great attitude on the court with the people she played with, and the people across the net,” said Stafford, who first observed Murphy in action when he brought his college team to Truckee for a week-long training session in August. “Obviously you have to have good skills, but there are a lot of people with skills that don’t necessarily have the attitude.
“Kati has both.”
So the first-year William Jessup coach kept tabs on Murphy as her Wolverines played deep into the postseason, eventually losing in the state championship match. Shortly after, Murphy signed her letter of intent to play for the Warriors, accepting a scholarship that covers “between 80 and 100 percent” of the $20,000-plus tuition, Stafford said.
“I think she’ll do great,” said Truckee head coach Nicole Annaloro. “She’s been working toward this for as long as I’ve known her.”
Murphy, who earned first team All-State and All-League recognition at middle blocker her senior season, won’t have to move far from home, as William Jessup is located in Rocklin near Sacramento. The Warriors play in the California-Pacific Annual Conference (Cal-Pac).
“I’m recruiting eight girls, so they’re all going to have to work for a spot. It’s going to be a competitive situation,” said Stafford, who’s coached volleyball the past three decades, building strong programs at Golden Sierra, Bear River and Granite Bay high schools.
“The good thing about Kati is she can play middle or right side because she has really good hands. She’s versatile.”
She’s tough, too, Annaloro said. Murphy proved as much in the state championship when she gutted out a painful ankle sprain to take the court for the Wolverines.
“She sprained her ankle two days before State and still played. I think that speaks to her heart as an athlete, because anyone in the stands wouldn’t have known how injured she was,” Annaloro said.
Both Annaloro and Erika Murphy, who has coached Kati Murphy since her Club Truckee days dating back to sixth grade, describe her as a team player whose energy rubs off on teammates, despite her humble ways.
“Volleyball is very much a team sport, and Kati doesn’t try to be an individual player,” Erika Murphy said. “She always tries to contribute to the team. She has no ego. And I think that’s what draws coaches like Terry to a player like Kati.”
“I’ve been doing this for 31 years, and one thing I’ve learned is you can’t replace attitude,” Stafford said.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.