Athlete Spotlight: Amanda Murnick, Montclair High School, Field Hockey
by Andrew Garda
The Montclair Mounties notched their ninth win this season on Saturday, Sept. 28 with a 2-0 win over Johnson High School. It was their seventh shutout victory and eight overall shutout, the eight coming on a 0-0 tie against crosstown rival Montclair Kimberley Academy.
While the defense has been a big factor in both the number of shutouts as well as the win total, senior goalie Amanda Murnick has been equally impressive.
“Amanda had a great game, yeah,” said MHS coach Mary Pat Mercuro. “She’s been doing well.”
Murnick said this season she’s really been able to drill down on her game, simplifying how she works through reading plays and not overthinking her goaltending.
“Coach really emphasized to me to trust my instincts and go with my gut and I think in the last few practices that’s really changed my game,” Murnick said. “I’ve really become a player who can control the circle more, because I know where the ball is going before it’s happening.”
Murnick, who has committed to study and play goalie at Stevens Institute of Technology next year, took a few minutes to talk goaltending and school for this week’s Athlete Spotlight:
What’s been the key to your success this year? I heard from a coach I had, David Hart, that there’s a difference between making a save making and making a block. In order for me to be the best help for my teammates I need to make the save and a clear and not just have my pads in front of the ball. Because if I go and I find my empty space, then I could be the start to a play that finishes with a goal.
Do you know what you’re going to study at Stevens? I’m trying to focus on aerospace engineering and mathematics.
When attracted you to that? I’m in the STEM program at the high school, I’m actually the president this year, and they bring in guest speakers every year. They had one who was working in defense, space and aircrafts and something clicked and that’s what I’ve been focused on. But who knows, it’s a tech school and I get a Bachelors of engineering instead of a bachelors of science so I could take that degree and go anywhere with it.
What appealed to you about Stevens? I went for a day as an unofficial visit, and I think immediately when I got there, the vibe of the team is very similar to ours, which was something I was really looking for. And the coach, her perspective on coaching, it’s very similar to Coach Mercuro’s it’s very positive and she’s really enforcing the little miniscule flaws that you might have if you change it, this is how great your game could be. She’s very “I’m going to focus on the positive rather than the negative” and seeing how we can progress as a team instead of as individuals.
What would you like to do in the aerospace field? I thought I could take it two ways. I could either go astronomical and kind of work through space and the whole space production, but I also recently realized they [Stevens] has a good defense program, and I think that could be a good way to take it too.