It’s not surprising that the Augusta Prep Lady Cavaliers volleyball team is fundamentally sound.
While they practice what head coach Rich Bland preaches, senior defensive specialist (libero) Herrington Murray is there on the floor to reinforce those lessons.
Playing varsity for four years – three as a starter – Murray has recently taken to coaching volleyball, which pays off back on the court.
“It kind of restates the things that you’ve been taught and makes you go back to working on the basics,” said Murray, who was an assistant for a 13-year-old club team. “If you’re teaching the basics, you’re going to improve yours automatically.”
A JV setter and varsity libero her freshman year, Murray was the team setter her sophomore year until switching to libero full-time as a junior.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I’ve played it (libero) in club for several years and it’s so exciting, you never see the same thing and you have to be able to read and play the ball from what you see. It’s exciting.”
Bland counts on Murray on and off the court.
“She’s one of the co-captains, she’s a senior, she does a great job of leading and encouraging her teammates,” Bland said. “She’s the kind of player that does things for the team and a coach before you think you even need to do them.”
Murray starts the majority of the Lady Cavaliers’ offensive sets, passing the ball off the serve to setter and junior co-captain Hannah Masiongale.
“I got really excited when I was told that I was captain,” said Murray, calling it a great honor. “And my co-captain, she’s great. We get along great, which automatically helps with the team chemistry.”
Chemistry that has helped lead the Lady Cavaliers to an 8-1 record out of the gates.
Murray began playing volleyball in sixth grade and that became her sport of choice immediately. She started playing club volleyball in seventh grade and continued with it until last year when she got the coaching job, which has become a focus.
“I definitely want to get into coaching,” Murray said. “I love coaching the middle school-age when they’re just learning the skills. It’s so exciting to see a girl’s face light up after something finally clicks.”
Bland was a coach at camps she went to, one of the reasons she wanted to attend Augusta Prep. She takes what she has gotten as a player from various coaches and molded her own style.
“I’ve been blessed to have wonderful coaches and that’s part of the reason I love to coach,” Murray said. “I try to piece together what I liked from all my other coaches and make sure what I didn’t like or what I would have suggested improvement on is fixed and give them the best experience they can have.”
Playing college volleyball isn’t something she is interested in, but would like to continue coaching youngsters while attending college.
“She’d be a great coach,” Bland said.
She has four dogs and a cat and would like to put that love of animals to use. She currently shadows a doctor at the St. Francis Animal Hospital.
“I do want to go into veterinary medicine,” said Murray. “I want to major in genetics and then try to take that into the veterinary medicine. Right now I’m about to apply to the University of Georgia, N.C. State University and Auburn University.”