Thom Holdgate recalls poking around the athletic complex at Duxbury High on a late summer day nearly four years ago. Friend Weiler , the girls’ hockey coach, had told Holdgate, his athletic director, about a promising freshman athlete.
Holdgate knew that Hannah Murphy was a hockey player, and that her older brother, Ben , had been a standout on the ice at Catholic Memorial. She was going to give field hockey a shot in the fall of 2009.
When he spotted her, Holdgate knew immediately.
“You can’t miss that red hair,” he remembered last week.
“I just remember seeing her out there. The big thing, at that point, was ‘What’s she going to do in ice hockey?’ . . . We knew she was coming [to the high school]. We didn’t know what she was going to do with field hockey. She was just ‘Hey, it’s hockey and what can I do?’ ”
Turns out, quite a bit — and not just in field hockey.
Her first varsity season that fall, she collected three total points, hardly an early indicator of her rise to prominence over four years as a dominant three-sport athlete, in which she has amassed a staggering 616 points (379 goals, 237 assists) in field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse.
Holdgate, without hesitation, calls the 5-foot-7 Murphy “clearly the best athlete we’ve had” in his 11 years at the school.
And that athlete has guided her respective teams to unprecedented success: three straight Division 2 ice hockey titles, a Division 1 South sectional field hockey crown, and a run to the Division 2 South semifinals in lacrosse last spring.
The numbers are mind-boggling.
With her 12th and final varsity season — lacrosse — not yet complete, Murphy is already a 10-time Patriot League all-star, as well as a seven-time All-Scholastic pick by the Globe.
Her stats (204 goals, 81 assists) on the lacrosse field are second-best in program history (behind 2005 grad Alexi Marrocco: 274-173), while she will graduate as Duxbury’s all-time leading scorer in field hockey (76 goals, 52 assists) and ice hockey (99 goals, 104 assists).
“I did really want [100 goals], but whatever,” said Murphy, smiling. She netted the game-winner in two of her three state championship games. “I’ll take 99 goals.”
Putting the scintillating stats aside, she is a coach’s dream.
A three-sport captain, Murphy will play lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, though she could have played any one of her sports at the next level.
Duxbury coach Kelly Jurgens speaks of her ability to get along with everyone.
On occasion, in the heat of the moment, she will forget what sport she is playing, but the end result is just fine.
“The other day I did a pass like an on-the-ice pass, but on the field. And I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ ” Murphy said. “But it worked, so whatever. It’s instinct.”
Collectively, it makes for an impressive individual.
“When you talk about your best player, there are plenty of girls who throw huge stats up,” Holdgate said. “She’s one who actually makes the entire team [better]. . . . You see that in field hockey and lacrosse a lot. When she’s subbed out for a breather, it is a totally different team.”
Added Jurgens: “It’s her presence. She has this confidence in herself and it reflects onto her teammates.”
While the field and ice hockey squads are already preparing “post-Hannah” plans, Jurgens gets to reap the benefits for a few more weeks in the tournaments (the girls’ pairings will be released Thursday).
A former standout at Needham High and Boston University, Jurgens was hired as coach before Murphy’s sophomore year. But she was somewhat familiar with Murphy’s potential, through her work with the Mass Elite club lacrosse program.
She recounted that recently, before her seniors played their final regular-season home game, a 19-1 win over Whitman-Hanson.
“I was telling the seniors, the first time I saw them I was [watching] the Duxbury youth program,” Jurgens said. “And I saw that redhead just lighting up everyone. I thought, ‘Oh, Duxbury is going to be good one day.’ ”
There have been quite a few good days.
The Dragons entered Wednesday’s regular-season final at Needham with a 12-4-1 mark, and a Patriot League title.
But once the Division 2 tourney kicks into gear next week, any game could be their last.
It doesn’t seem real yet for the girl who rarely, if ever, stops to rest on her laurels.
“It’s weird. I feel like I have more seasons,” Murphy said. “But I’m done after this. It hasn’t hit me. It probably won’t till after.”
In addition to the Duxbury girls, a number of other programs are determined to make noise.
Girls’ teams to watch
►Foxborough (14-1-1): Since suffering their lone loss, 7-6 on April 29, junior Katie Notarangelo and the Hockomock League Davenport Division champion Warriors are unbeaten in six games, outscoring foes 70-37.
►Scituate (11-4): The solid regular-season record could serve the Sailors well. First-year coach Kristen Oldenburg’s squad is 8-1 at home, thanks in large part to senior midfielder Kelly Martin .
►Marshfield (12-4): The Rams have just lost twice — to Duxbury and Sandwich — in 14 games since opening the season 0-2. Senior Erin Shea (42 goals, 29 assists) and junior Lexi Iafrato (9.07 goals-against average) have paved the way for much of that success.
►Notre Dame (Hingham) (16-2): Coach Meredith Frank has no shortage of talent young and old, with freshman Charlotte Allard emerging to complement four Division 1-bound seniors.
►Westwood (17-0): It’s hard to argue with perfection. The Wolverines are the two-time defending Division 1 state champs, and with junior Ela Hazar , junior Kim Egizi, and senior Marina Burke supporting coach Leslie Frank’s offense, they have been held to fewer than 10 goals just once.
Boys’ teams to watch
►Bridgewater-Raynham (15-2): A trio of captains — goalie Matt LaFond (3.88 GAA, .589 save percentage), defender Ryan Murphy, and midfielder Tim O’Connor — limit foes to four scores per game.
►Canton (13-1): The Bulldogs are no strangers to tight games: They are 5-1 in one-goal games. Canton has recorded three OT wins, with two of those coming in two extra frames.
►Cohasset (11-3): First-year coach James Beaudoin has a bevy of scorers, including seniors John Mills and Nick Tangherlini , junior Colin Whelan , and sophomore Cole Kissick.
►Duxbury (14-5): The Dragons are Harvard Stadium regulars, having won the last two Division 1 state titles and nine out of the last 11. They have at least as many Division 1 commits as they do losses. Their only in-state defeat came May 13, 6-4, to Needham.
►Hingham (15-3): Perennial second fiddle to the Dragons, the Division 2 Harbormen might be looked upon more favorably if not for a couple close losses to Division 1 teams Needham (April 6, 7-6) and Duxbury (April 30, 8-7).
Tim Healey can be reached at email@example.com.