It was a shot 80 minutes and more than 27 years in the making: a free kick during the women’s soccer team’s Sept. 17 home game against Northeastern University that bounced off another player and landed at Brooke Murphy’s feet. With 10 minutes left in regulation play, the senior midfielder booted the ball into Northeastern’s goal, securing a 1–0 win over a team UNH last bested in 2003, and, in scoring her 39th career goal as a Wildcat, toppling a scoring record that had stood since 1990.
“That’s part of being a great goal scorer, having a nose for the goal. It's about being in the right place at the right time.”
“It was an opportunistic type of goal,” says head coach Steve Welham of Murphy’s record strike. “That’s part of being a great goal scorer, having a nose for the goal. It's about being in the right place at the right time.”
Murphy has been in the right place at the right time for virtually all of her UNH career. She scored 11 goals in each of her freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns and came into her senior season as the two-time incumbent America East Striker of the Year. After besting the scoring record that had been held by UNH Athletics Hall of Famer Diane McLoughlin St. John ’91, she contributed another four goals, bringing her four-year total to 43. Murphy will bow out of her Wildcat career with the all-time record for both goals scored and for total points. Her 97-point tally tops the 88-point mark set by Chiara Best ’05 in 2004.
Murphy’s record-breaking September shot may have been worth celebrating, but the sports studies major says taking a long-overdue win from Northeastern was her primary focus that day, and her favorite goal is probably one she scored freshman year. Down 0–1 in the America East championships semifinal game against defending champs University of Maryland Baltimore County, Murphy scored from a nearly impossible angle at the end line to tie the game and force two overtime periods. The team went on to win the game on penalty kicks and subsequently to claim its first — and to date only — America East championship.
“I don’t do much when I celebrate, but when that happened, I didn’t know what to do and I think I just kept throwing my arms up and down,” she recalls. “That was probably the most exciting, and I’ll still get goosebumps thinking about it.”
Originally published in UNH Magazine Winter 2018 Issue