Tarah Murrey goes for the kill at Cal.

In Tarah Murrey's world, there is nothing as satisfying as a good kill, and she knows whereof she kills. She had more than 600 of them a year ago. Murrey is an outside hitter on Cal's nationally ranked women's volleyball team

Malina Terrell enjoyed perhaps her finest outing...

(San Francisco) – San Francisco volleyball put together an sensational effort and upset and swept No. 16 San Diego Thursday night in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams at War Memorial Gym. The Dons (9-5, 1-0 WCC) remain unbeaten at home and hand the Toreros (13-1, 0-1 WCC) their first loss of the season after an unbeaten non-conference slate.

USF's starting lineup featured just one upperclassman, but they showed no signs of nerves against the defending WCC Champions. The Dons executed from the opening serve in a match featuring just three lead changes. It was the first top-25 win for the program since sweeping No. 22 San Diego 3-0 at home (11/7/09). USF has defeated the Toreros in three of four at War Memorial Gym.

Freshman opposite hitter Vendula Strakova paced San Francisco with a match-higfh 13 kills on .323 hitting to go along with a pair of blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Malina Terrell enjoyed perhaps her finest outing in the Green and Gold with 11 kills on .438 hitting and added four blocks (one solo).

Two former Golden Bear 18 Forefront players have been nominated for the prestigous Lowe's Senior Class Award: Sophia Dunworth and Tarah Murrey!

OVERLAND PARK, KS – Thirty NCAA® women's volleyball student-athletes who excel both on and off the court were selected as candidates today for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. 

Golden Bear Alum, Tarah Murrey, Leads USA Team to National Championship

DALLAS (May 31, 2011) – The USA A2 Blue squad defeated USA A2 Red 26-24 in the double final title match of the 2011 USA Volleyball Open National Championships Women's Open Division to complete a comeback through the consolation round on Tuesday evening at the Dallas Convention Center.

USA A2 Blue, who lost to USA A2 Red earlier on Tuesday in semifinal round, gained revenge in the first title match with a 19-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23 victory to force the Golden Set playoff in the double-elimination format. In the do-or-die set, USA A2 Blue came back from a 24-22 deficit to win 26-24 on four unanswered points.

In the full Women’s Open title match, Tarah Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif., California) scored a match-high 20 points with 14 kills, four aces and two blocks while holding a 59 positive reception on 17 attempts. Ashley Bannister (Sugar Land, Texas, Texas) knocked down 14 points, while Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill., Illinois) matched her 14 points that included five blocks to go with a 62 positive reception percent on 13 attempts. Ashley Rhoades (Rio Rancho, N.M., New Mexico) tacked on 12 points with a match-high six blocks. Brianne Barker (Amarillo, Texas, Oklahoma) set USA A2 Red to a 35 kill percent in the match. Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif., Illinois) charted 25 receptions as part of a team-high 64 positive percent.

During the Golden Set, Murrey scored six kills, a block and an ace for eight of her team’s 26 points. Rhoades added six points in the set, while Gwen Rucker (Lexington, Ky., Louisville), Barker and Bannister each collected four points in the deciding set. USA A2 Blue scored seven aces and six blocks in the Golden Set. Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo., Florida) and Murphy pocketed six points each for USA A2 Red in the deciding set.

Murrey was named the tournament’s Open Division Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-Tournament by Barker and Bannister on the USA A2 Blue Team, Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif., Southern California) and Kingdon on USA A2 Red, and USA A2 White’s Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill., Illinois).

“This feels awesome,” Murrey said after the championship. “When we lost to the Red Team in the first final, I was talking to Ashley (Bannister) and told her we have to win this. We worked so hard to get to this point. I couldn’t have asked for more. I loved playing with my teammates this week.”

Murrey, one of only two players to have been part of the U.S. Women’s National A2 Program four times, has now won the gold medal at back-to-back USA Volleyball Open National Championships as she helped her squad to the title in 2010.

Tarah Murrey Continues Dominating Ascent of Pipeline

Becky Murdy March 30, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 30, 2011) – Tarah Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif.) throws focus, determination and the dedication of a true champion into her bag and onto her back as she continues to dominantly climb the talented mountain known in the USA Volleyball world as “the pipeline.”

The 6-3 rising senior outside hitter at California-Berkeley has not only grown up within the walls of USA Volleyball, but has dominated at every level she has competed. In her first year playing for Team USA, Murrey was selected as the most valuable player of the 2006 NORCECA Girls’ Youth (U-18) Continental Championship, leading the team to the gold medal with a win over the Dominican Republic in the title match held in Gainesville, Fla.

“Being on that team was so much fun,” Murrey said of the 2006 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team. “Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas) and Sydney Yogi (Honolulu, Hawaii, University of Texas) were on that team and we talk about how it was the most memorable volleyball trip that we have ever taken, and what an amazing experience and opportunity that was.”

Continuing her ascent of teams within the USAV High Performance (HP) pipeline and prolonging her ability to improve her skills through experience, Murrey went on to make the U.S. Women’s National A2 Team for two consecutive years (2009, 2010), proving that her growth as a player was part result of her dedication within the disciplines of USA Volleyball. Linked with the prestigious coaching staff and top-of-the-line talent, Murrey was able to grow mentally as a player-- bettering her adapting capabilities and leadership tendencies which she carried over to her collegiate play.

“My first time on the team (U.S. Women’s National A2 Team, 2009) was really great,” Murrey said. “It was incredible being able to train and play against college kids. Last year (U.S. Women’s National A2 Team, 2010) was by far the best year. It was so much fun to play with those girls. That line-up was incredible with Rachael (Adams), Jen (Doris, Texas), Juliann (Faucette, Texas), Carli (Lloyd, Cal-Berkeley) and everyone else. Every single time we played, practiced or were together was just so much fun.”

In 2009, the summer after her first year with the Golden Bears, Murrey was chosen to the USA A2 Blue Team where she helped capture the bronze medal at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Minneapolis. In 2010, prior to entering her junior season, Murrey again joined the USA A2 team, this time taking home the gold medal at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Phoenix.

“Playing on the A2 teams has helped me adjust on the fly,” Murrey said. “It’s important when playing with new girls to adjust to their different techniques of play, whether it is slower or faster. I have to be able to connect with my setter as well.”

Her resume at California, under head coach Rich Feller, parallels the accomplishments in her USA Volleyball career. Since throwing on the blue and gold uniform, Murrey has played in every single match, including all 34 starts of her junior year. The Golden Bears marked a stand-out season finishing 30-4 and took second in the 2010 NCAA Division- I Women’s Volleyball Championship behind Penn State. In addition to accumulating a team-high 617 kills in the 2010 season, Murrey was named to the 2010 AVCA Division I All-America Team with teammate and departing senior setter Carli Lloyd.

Murrey credits Lloyd for her growth as a player, a direct result from the amount of time the two have been able to play and spend together.

“I have had the opportunity to play with my setter, Carli Lloyd, on both of the A2 teams which really helped my development as a player,” Murrey said. “It is such an important bond and relationship to have.”

If watching Murrey attack the net isn’t enough to make jaws drop, then her infatuation and hunger for the sport will. Her enthusiasm and love for volleyball is undoubtedly contagious and recognized within the volleyball community. Murrey may have the resume of a future world champion and rank at the top in all categories, but the most important thing to her remains the same—having fun.

“I always look to have more focus and determination each time I play and improve and continue to set goals for myself, but the most important thing is always to make sure that I am having fun,” Murrey said.

It has been five years since she won gold with the U.S. Girls’ Youth Team and her excitement for playing in the HP pipeline hasn’t dulled. She continues to let herself be re-inspired and open to learning new things from anyone with suggestions. Most recently Murrey attend the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she hoped to secure her spot with the A2 team for her third and final time (players can only make the A2 team three times in a career).

“After the first day of tryouts I ran to my phone to text my mom. I told her I fell in love with volleyball all over again,” Murrey confessed. “I was just out there trying to play hard, but most importantly, to have fun. We have limited playing time in the spring so it was awesome to have three straight days of play and feedback from those talented coaches. Whether it was tweaking or completely changing something I was doing, I tried to soak up everything that they were saying."

Murrey was selected to the U.S. Women’s National A2 Program for a third time, March 17, tying the record set last year by former California teammate Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.). She becomes the second player ever to make the U.S. Women’s National A2 roster for three years.

No matter where she is playing or at what point in her career that she may be, the El Cerrito native always keeps her mom, Barbara, former volleyball player at San Jose State and elementary school coach, in her mind.

“When my mom was a player she was given the opportunity to train with the U.S. Team, but had to pass it up,” Murrey said. “I tell her all the time that she can live through me while I am playing. I try so hard to make her proud and to improve so that she can continue to live out her volleyball dreams while I am playing. I know that I still have those opportunities and I don’t take that for granted because my mom never got the chance to.”

Sports are a family affair for the Murrey’s, leaving little speculation of why and how Tarah obtained the exceptional talent and poise that she has. Murrey has two brothers, Jerryck and Russell, and sister, Brittney. In addition to her mother’s athletic background, father, Douglas was a former basketball player for San Jose State and a 1981 NBA ninth-round draft pick made by the Golden State Warriors.

“They got me into sports at a young age, but it was their approach and their attitude about sports that was the most important thing that they gave me,” Murrey said. “They always said that if I wanted to play and be focused enough to do well, I had to balance and take care of the other aspects of my life. I take that advice with me every day, especially at school when balancing academics and volleyball. They gave me the key to being a better athlete mentally and a better person mentally.”

Her sister Brittney, a former setter for UC Riverside and current professional volleyball player in Europe, gets the credit for inspiring Tarah to pursue volleyball.

“I started volleyball because I wanted to be just like my sister,” Murrey joked. “I wanted to be nothing more than Brittney’s twin. Sometimes people even thought we were, which she hated when we were younger. With my mom being a former player and my elementary coach, along with my sister playing, I knew I just had to play.”

With a new setter at Cal., and announcements of the A2 roster released, Murrey maintains a positive attitude and hunger to play. There is no doubt that the stand-out will continue her climb and use the recourses the HP pipeline has provided to ensure that her volleyball accomplishments are limitless.