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Murphy boosts Va. Tech

Jason Murphy had a strong game at right guard for Virginia Tech Sunday night in the team's season-opening victory over North Carolina State.

The fifth-year senior from Edmondson High played all 64 offensive snaps, had three knockdown blocks and earned a "Chain Gang" award from assistant coach Bryan Stinespring. The award was for a positive overall game performance.

"I will be trying to make more good things happen for both the team and myself this season," said Murphy, 6 feet 2, 303 pounds. "I'm not going to say I didn't put a lot of effort into it last year, but I know there's going to be more in it this year."

Murphy started the last seven games at left guard last season for the Atlantic Coast Conference champions (10-3, 7-1), who avenged their only league loss Sunday night with a 20-16 victory.

Last year, Murphy played 405 snaps and had 28 knockdown blocks, with three against Maryland in the 27 snaps he was on the field in a 55-6 rout of the Terps.

He was The Sun's All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year in 2000.

Wooden starts strong

Junior cornerback Ambrose Wooden (Gilman) lived up to the high expectations Saturday afternoon in his first start for Notre Dame at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Wooden, 5-11, 197, led all Irish tacklers with 12 to help make new coach Charlie Weis' debut a success with a 42-21 romp past then-No. 23 Pitt. Wooden played mainly on special teams in nine games last season after not playing as a reserve his first year.

Sharing some of the spotlight with Wooden was starting junior left defensive end Victor Abiamiri (Gilman), whose six tackles included one sack. Wooden and Abiamiri were The Sun's 2002 All-Metro Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, as seniors at Gilman.

Wooden switched from wide receiver to defensive back before the 2004 season at Notre Dame.

Express mail

Senior tight end Chris Kupec (River Hill) started his final season at Southern Illinois Thursday night by catching two passes for 27 yards for the No. 5 Salukis (Division I-AA), who defeated Southeast Missouri State, 58-23 Kupec was a preseason first-team pick in the Gateway Football Conference.

Virginia Tech junior Allie Kupec (River Hill) is pushing her brother Chris for athletic recognition in the family. She is third on the volleyball team in kills (21), fourth in kills per game (2.33) and second in attack percentage (.239). Kupec is first in blocks (1.11 a game) and has five digs for the Hokies (1-2).

Sophomore soccer midfielder Joachim Walker (Mount St. Joseph) recorded the first point of his George Washington career in his second start Sunday. Walker had an assist in a 3-0 victory over Howard that gave the Colonials a 1-0-1 record.

Have a Postcard question? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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