Cathleen Murphy's performance before No. 6 W.T. Woodson's 2-1 victory over Thomas Jefferson last night was topped only by her performance during the game.
The senior forward sang an impressive rendition of the national anthem prior to the game, and then beautifully redirected a shot over Jefferson goalkeeper Rachel Miller with 20 minutes remaining for what turned out to be the Cavaliers' winning score.
W.T. Woodson took control when senior Lizl Gericke opened the scoring, putting in the rebound of her own missed shot seven minutes into the second half. Murphy's goal was a perfectly timed tip of Mia Naccarato's shot, accomplished with an ease that belied the effort gone into its production.
"We've been practicing that tip drill for weeks," Cavaliers Coach Andy Muir said. "I'm glad we got an opportunity in the game to try it. She had a nice touch with it."
Murphy is no stranger to the rigors of practicing, having sung since she was 2 years old. She began singing the anthem before Cavaliers home games during her sophomore season when she asked Muir if she could perform as a way to become more involved.
"We just had a recording for the anthem before I started doing it," Murphy said. "It's always a lot more fun when someone sings it, though, and I think it gets the team into the game more."
W.T. Woodson (9-1-1, 1-0 AAA Liberty District), which defeated Jefferson for its third straight Northern Region title last year, last night showed its ability to handle strong teams without two key players from that squad: graduated All-Mets Ashley McCulloch and Ashley Peck.
By contrast, Jefferson (5-5, 0-1) has had a more difficult time adjusting this season, after losing eight seniors and an excellent defender in junior Alyson Heon, who transferred to Westfield. Still, as the Colonials showed with a number of quality chances at the end of the game, including a goal by junior Ruth Isenstadt, they remain a dangerous squad.
"T.J.'s a really good team," Murphy said. "I definitely think we're going to see them again later on in the year. But we'll be ready again for them."