Athletes of the week

High Schools

November 21, 2001

BOYS

J.P. Murphy

Severna Park, boys soccer

The senior midfielder was the catalyst in the third-ranked Falcons' march to their first state championship since they shared it with Bowie in 1983. Murphy scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over then-No. 3 Dulaney in the Class 3A final. In five playoff games, he scored six goals -- three of which proved to be game-winners. Murphy paced Severna Park (13-5-1) with a team-best 15 goals and 10 assists. The 25 points tied Rodney Long for the most points in a single season.

Murphy, who has started on the varsity team for the past three seasons, concluded his high school career with 30 goals and 19 assists. The 49 points place him among the school's top five career leaders.

GIRLS

Michelle Clarke

Towson, volleyball

The senior setter had 59 assists in the state Class 2A tournament as she led the No. 2 Generals to victories over Lackey and No. 5 Glenelg for their first state volleyball championship.

Clarke had 31 assists in the 15-8, 15-8, 17-15 state final sweep of Glenelg. She had 28 assists and two kills in the 15-1, 15-9, 15-5 semifinal win over Lackey. Her ability to read the defense and mix up the offense proved crucial to Towson's state title run.

A four-year varsity veteran, the 5-7 Clarke contributed 496 assists this season, averaging 8.9 per game. After losing their first match in four games to Severna Park, a match in which Clarke had a season-high 45 assists, the Generals dropped only one game through their season-ending 19-match winning streak.

Nominate athletes: The Sun accepts nominations for its Athletes of the Week on Sundays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 410-332-6200 or 1-800-829-8000, ext. 6200. Two athletes (one boy and one girl) will be selected each week and featured in Wednesday's editions, beginning next week. To be nominated, athletes must play for their high school team and be available the next Monday to have their pictures taken. Only coaches can nominate Athletes of the Week.

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