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Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week: Jenna Murphy

January 12, 2002

Steve Virgen

Times have certainly changed for Newport Harbor High junior Jenna

Murphy. Gone are the days of being the wide-eyed freshman on the varsity

water polo team. Gone are the days of being the one who asks all the

questions.

Now she has most of the answers and she is thriving in the role as one

of the Sailors' leaders.

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However, Murphy has yet to reach the pinnacle of her potential.

"She's capable of playing at even a higher level because she has a

tremendous amount of talent," Newport Coach Bill Barnett said of the

left-handed two-meter player. "With her talent, she should never be

satisfied because she is such a tremendous talent. She has to continue to

push herself."

Murphy agreed with her coach.

"He has a lot of confidence in me," Murphy said. "During practice, he

always tries to push me to my fullest potential. He likes to push me. He

knows what I'm capable of doing and so do I. With the way I'm going now,

I think I haven't peaked yet."

Murphy, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, appeared to be pushing

herself to her limits last week, displaying an immense amount of

intensity. She scored two goals and handed out an assist to help the

visiting Sailors defeat previously unbeaten El Toro, 10-4, Jan. 4. She

also scored three goals in an 8-6 win at Carlsbad.

"Oh, that felt really good," Murphy said of the win over El Toro that

avenged a 7-6 loss in five overtime periods to the Chargers in a CIF

Southern Section Division I quarterfinal. "(The win) felt good,

especially because of last year. I tipped the ball for a goal for them

(in the fourth overtime period). I blamed myself last year. I took it

pretty hard. But my teammates helped me realize it wasn't my fault. I

wanted to prove to (El Toro) that we are the better team. I don't think

they were ready for how much we wanted it."

Murphy's left-handed skills kept the Chargers off balance throughout

the game. Yet it was her intensity that Barnett was most impressed with.

"She has really picked up her game in the last couple of weeks,"

Barnett said. "Just the overall intensity of her play has improved. She's

shooting the ball real well and she's playing exceptionally well in

games."

Murphy is also aware that she has improved. She battled through a

shoulder injury last year and during the offseason she increased her

strength by maintaining a busy schedule. Aside from training and playing

water polo, Murphy became a certified beach lifeguard this summer.

Among the 31 people who were training to become a lifeguard, boys

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