Times-Mirror Female Athlete Of the Year: Murielle Tiernan
High School: Stone Bridge
Sports: Soccer; Basketball
Favorite sport: Soccer
Soccer position: Forward
Basketball position: Forward
Committed to: Virginia Tech
Since her freshman year, Murielle Tiernan has played both basketball and soccer for Stone Bridge High School, and she has played both very well.
On the pitch, the rising senior is an All-AAA First Team performer, a prodigious scoring threat who speeds past defenders for open shooting lanes. After notching 24 goals in her junior season, she finds herself ranked in the national top-40 of all forwards in her class, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com.
On the court, she is a tenacious inside presence who’s won multiple All-Liberty District nods. Her monster 39-point, 22-rebound domination last January led Stone Bridge in an upset of James Madison.
For all this, Tiernan earned looks from colleges for both basketball and soccer, sports she’s played since age 5. But there’s no question as to which she favors.
“I definitely like soccer a lot better,” Tiernan said, emphasizing the penultimate word. “I didn’t like basketball so much when I was younger. I just wanted to play soccer.”
As a youngster, Tiernan got into soccer with an instant affinity. The native of Ashburn has a lifetime of learning with the Loudoun Soccer youth organization and with the various teams of the FC Virginia soccer club.
She took up the court sport at the behest of her father, Ed, once a player for Hampden-Sydney College. She played in the Dulles Youth Basketball League, among others. As she grew to her current 5-foot-11, playing hoops has grown on her—to a point.
“Now in high school I like basketball more than before but I probably still like soccer about twice as much.”
Even when it comes to the beautiful game, Tiernan has her preferences.
“I don’t really like being in the defensive half much,” said Tiernan, who has averaged nearly a goal per match during her high school career. “I like scoring.”
She also likes winning, something she’s helped Stone Bridge do with regularity in both sports. But to date, her top moment as a Bulldog was the final moment of her first soccer season.
“Winning states freshman year,” she stated. “We had a really good group of freshmen come in and we already had a strong group of seniors. We just all played perfectly together.”
She probably intended the double-meaning; the Bulldogs lost nary a match on their way to the 2010 state girls’ soccer title. Meanwhile Tiernan got to play at the high school level with longtime friends Corinne Giroux and Ashley Herndon.
“Ashley and I talk about coming back one day and coaching Stone Bridge in soccer,” Tiernan said with a laugh. “We’re kind of kidding, but kind of not, I guess.”
Tiernan’s junior year concluded recently but her workload hasn’t abated. Her schedule of soccer showcases, tournaments and half-games took her recently to Richmond and Orlando. She will spend June’s final week in Chicago, competing for a national championship with FC Virginia.
After her senior year and subsequent graduation, Tiernan’s soccer skills will take her to Blacksburg, where an athletic scholarship to Virginia Tech awaits.
“I had it narrowed down to Tech and Michigan, but I just liked the ACC better,” she said, referring to the conference in which she’ll compete. “Plus I really like the idea of being around some people I already know.”
She still has a year to go in her hometown, with promising seasons on the court and on the pitch to create yet more top moments.
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