Taylor Murtaugh is used to juggling soccer and basketball, just not this way. The Bronx Science senior has been a four-year player at the school in both sports, in the past transitioning from basketball in the winter to soccer in the spring.
“I would be used to playing basketball,” she said. “Then I would have a break from playing basketball and just did soccer.”
The move of the PSAL girls soccer season to the fall has changed that routine a bit. Murtaugh spent her summer totally away from soccer, playing for New Heights on the AAU circuit. She said she first picked up a soccer ball in mid-August when basketball coach Rock Rosa gave the team some time off.
“It’s not any easier,” she said. … “I went straight into soccer preseason so it was really weird.”
The quick turnaround and the fact that she is still practicing during the week with New Heights and playing with them at the Rose Classic tournament in Brooklyn almost every weekend has not affected her play on the soccer field. Murtaugh, who believes the hectic schedule is worth it, has scored four goals and dished out three assists in three games, including one apiece in a 7-0 win over host DeWitt Clinton in PSAL Bronx A-I Thursday. She had 13 goals and 12 assists a year ago and averaged 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds for the basketball team.
“She has been playing fantastic,” Bronx Science coach Josh Zuckerman said. “She is a great leader and she just displays some amazing skills.”
Murtaugh sent a quick pass to the top of the box to Nadine Penkovsky for her first of two goals in the 11th minute and later scored on a long cross from Lucie March, who also had a goal, to make it 3-0 four minutes later. Jacqueline Wideen, Elizabeth Schaeffer, Alexandra Bushman and Claudia Villar each added scores.
“I think a lot of your girls can produce when we put the ball on the ground and make good connections,” said Murtaugh, who led the Wolverines to the PSAL Class A basketball semifinals last season. “We all can finish.”
Bronx Science, which lost to eventual champion McKee/Staten Island Tech in the ‘A’ girls soccer semifinals a year ago, is now 3-0 in the division and has won each game by six goals or more. The Wolverines (4-0) have looked outside the league for games because of the lopsided scores. They have played against Riverdale, Horace Mann, Preston and Beacon.
“We have probably played more out-of-league games then we have league games,” said Bushman, who will play at Georgetown next year.
Clinton, while overmatched by Bronx Science, is still one of the best teams in the borough. It was 7-4 last season and has a win over Truman, a 1-1 tie with Lehman and a forfeit victory over Columbus. The Governors, who play just 12 girls, are led by midfielders Sylvia Ayisi and Alisa Redzic. Ayisi had their best chance at a goal on a ball blasted from 20-yards out on the far side late in the second half that Science backup goalkeeper Juliet Mullan tipped over the cross bar.
“Both my captains are very vocal,” Clinton coach Omar Osorio said. “Sometimes they go at each other and I like that. … I want them to relay the knowledge with the rest of my girls. They become teachers.”
Murtaugh does the same for her club. “She calls out plays and is always making sure people are where they are supposed to be,” Penkovsky said.
The two-sport star is adept at keeping things in order, managing soccer, school and basketball. Bushman, one of her best friends, has seen Murtaugh do her homework while holding a conversation on train rides home.