The Skyline senior is the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class according to PrepVolleyball.com
By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com
There was a coach standing on the sidelines last Tuesday during the Skyline-Dexter volleyball game who can relate to what Skyline standout Harper Murray is about to experience at the next level – and it wasn’t her own awesome coach.
Dexter Coach Mackenzi Welsh was a standout volleyball player at Michigan, starting all four years for the Wolverines and earning All-Big Ten First Team honors in 2019. She finished her career with 5,223 assists, third in Michigan history.
Welsh is obviously impressed with Harper’s skills – but says the Skyline senior has never seen the challenges waiting for her in the Big Ten.
“She is a great athlete and she’s going to go on and do great things at Nebraska,” said Welsh. “She is playing really well right now and I’m excited to see how her caliber of volleyball changes once she gets to the Big Ten.
“In the Big Ten you get challenged every day and it’s not easy. I played there for four years and it was never easy. Nebraska is a very strong program and they are consistently good and I know she will bring a lot of good things to their program. It will be interesting to see how she rises to that challenge.”
Harper’s older sister, Kendall, has risen to that challenge in Ann Arbor. Kendall is a junior this season at Michigan after appearing in 28 matches last year as a sophomore. While at Skyline, Kendall was All-State First Team and AVCA Under Armour All-American Third Team as a senior.
Harper is excited about her future, but right now is setting all her attention on the present. She says her senior season is “going really well.”
“We lost to Northville and Mercy at a quad (in Livonia) this past weekend and they are two of the best teams in the state,” she said. “But even though they are really good we know we can beat them. We just need to work on the little things.”
Murray serves up a quick answer when asked about what the Eagles need to do better. “Take care of our errors,” she says. “We make too many errors sometimes and if we cut back on those, it will help us a lot.”
Murray can’t believe she is already a senior and says the time has flown by. “It’s been great,” she says. “I got to play with my sister one year and that was awesome. I’ve gotten to play with players from my club and that’s been great. I really like our team this year.”
Skyline lost in the Division 1 State Finals last year to Bloomfield Hills Marian. In 2020, the Eagles reached the state quarterfinals before losing to Novi. In 2019, the Eagles reached the Final Four before falling to Farmington Hills Mercy in the semifinals.
Nebraska seemed like the perfect fit for Harper, who committed last July.
“I just loved the coaches, the players, the fans, everything,” she said. “Everything about the school is great. It was a tough decision not to play with my sister but Nebraska is really where I wanted to be.”
The other coach on the floor last week in Dexter has seen incredible improvement in Murray during the course of her amazing career.
“She has really grown a lot in her four years being on varsity,” said Skyline Coach Chris Cristian. “We’ve even seen a big difference between last year and this year. She is talking more to the players during timeouts and helping turn things around if they aren’t going well, not only with her play but with her leadership. She is one of our captains and brings a lot to our team besides her great skills.”
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