When Maryland takes the field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis for Saturday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal matchup against No. 2 seed Johns Hopkins, Goran Murray will likely move to a spot opposite Zach Palmer and shadow the Blue Jays’ junior attackman incessantly.
That’s been the role that the 6-foot, 175-pound defenseman has played in his freshman campaign. Having tangled with the likes of Virginia senior Steele Stanwick, Colgate junior Peter Baum, and Lehigh senior David DiMaria, being asked to contain an opponent’s top attackman has become a matter of routine for Murray.
“I look forward to every challenge,” he said Tuesday. “I just take pride in that. I’m trying to play the best guys on the field, trying to play the best teams. Maryland’s one of the best programs in the country. It’s amazing playing on this defense with these guys. These are great guys. They play hard. I try to do as they do and learn from them.”
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Murray doesn’t lead the Terps defense in groundballs or caused turnovers (that honor goes to junior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt), but he is blessed with the quickest feet on the team and a tenacious nature befitting his position.
That attributes helped Murray shut out Palmer in Maryland’s 9-6 victory on April 14. It’s the only time this season that Palmer, who leads Johns Hopkins in both assists (26) and points (52), did not record a point in a game.
“I just played the game, played our scheme,” Murray said of his performance against Palmer. “I moved my feet and ran with him. That’s just the main thing that I try to do in almost every game. Just run with who I’m playing.”
Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala is impressed with Murray’s quick learning curve in his first foray in Division I.
“I think anytime you step on the field for a Division I program as a freshman, that’s a pretty neat accomplishment,” Pietramala said. “I think it’s an outstanding accomplishment. And then to add to that, to be asked to cover one of the other team’s better attackman, I think it speaks volumes to the talent the young man has and the coaching he’s getting from [defensive coordinator] Kevin Warne.”