By Lincoln Arneal
Harper Murray’s trophy case just got a little more crowded.
The Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline senior was named the 2022-23 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year.
To surprise her, Skyline high school athletic director Andre Criswell arranged a ceremony at the school where they filled the trophy case with Gatorade and invited her family and classmates to celebrate. However, as she was about to be presented the award, she took off running when her teammates tried to dump a Gatorade bucket of confetti.
“To have the support of everyone around me makes it a lot more special. It’s so very surreal,” Murray said. “I’ve seen girls I know get this award. I’ve seen a lot of athletes get this award, so it’s a really big honor. I’m very honored.”
Murray, who will enroll at Nebraska next week, is the fifth Husker player to win the award, joining Ally Batenhorst (2020-21), Lexi Sun (2016-17), Mikaela Foecke (2014-15) and Gina Mancuso (2008-09).
The recognition caps off an impressive prep career for the 6-foot-2 outside hitter. She was named Michigan’s Miss Volleyball and earned first-team All-American honors from AVCA and MaxPreps.
In addition, Murray was named the Best Spiker at the U19 Pan Am Cup in Tulsa in August as she led the United States to a gold medal. She also participated in the Under Armour All-America game earlier this month. The No. 2 ranked prospect by PrepVolleyball.com also helped her club team, Legacy, win a national title in 2021.
This season for Skyline, Murray recorded 726 kills (6.1 per set) on a .405 hitting percentage as the Eagles went 39-8 and reached the Division 1 regional semifinals. She also added 409 digs, 86 aces and 40 blocks. Murray finished her career with 2,488 kills and 1,460 digs.
Winners are selected for athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. Murray graduated with a 3.62 GPA and participated in her school’s Rising Scholars Leadership Program, designed to create access and opportunity for underrepresented yet high-achieving students. She volunteered for the Vada Murray Endowed Fund for Cancer Research, named for her late father. She also served as a lead coach for the Skyline Rising Eagle Volleyball Clinic.
She is one of two incoming freshmen to win Gatorade player of the year honors for her state, joining Bergen Reilly, who won her third-straight South Dakota award.
They will join five previous state winners on the Huskers: Bekka Allick (Nebraska 2020-21), Ally Batenhorst (Texas 2019-20), Lindsay Krause (Nebraska, 2019-20), Kennedi Orr (Minnesota 2017-18, 2018-19), Lexi Rodriguez (Illinois 2019-20),