Madison Nguyen, a junior outside hitter for Archbishop Murphy High School, was a first-team All-Wesco 4A/3A/2A South selection. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Madison Nguyen, a junior outside hitter for Archbishop Murphy High School, was a first-team All-Wesco 4A/3A/2A South selection. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

March Athlete of the Month winner: Murphy’s Madison Nguyen

The Archbishop Murphy junior received the most votes from our readers for the month of March.

Madison Nguyen plays an integral role for the Archbishop Murphy volleyball as an outside hitter.

The Wildcats’ junior averaged 3.6 digs, 2.6 kills and 0.6 aces per set this season on her way to earning a first-team All-Wesco 4A/3A/2A South selection.

Her stellar performances included posting 29 digs, 13 kills and three aces in a 3-1 loss to Shorewood on March 10. For her efforts that night, Nguyen was nominated for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for March 8-14.

Nguyen went on to be the top vote-getter for the week, and she was eventually selected The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month for March by our readers in a tight vote that saw the Archbishop Murphy standout edge out her nearest competition by just 40 votes (1,602 to 1,562).

The Herald recently spoke with Nguyen about volleyball, her family’s love of karaoke and her future plans:

This season was far different than a normal year. What was it like going through the experience?

It was a little bit more tough than other seasons due to COVID. I’ve played with these seniors ever since my freshman year, so it was pretty tough knowing that we only had a limited amount of games. But I did enjoy every single minute playing with them. It was frustrating knowing that we only had a little (amount) of games compared to other years, but I still had a lot of fun with my team.

Do you think that each game carried a little more meaning this year since the season was shorter than normal?

For sure. I definitely felt like I took some of the games last year for granted knowing that this COVID thing just came up out of nowhere. … Before each game, I would thank the seniors for everything that they’ve done because I know I won’t play with them later on.

What was it like when you guys were finally able to get fans back at games after going through most of the season with empty stands?

I thought it was amazing, honestly. I was upset when I heard we couldn’t have fans at games because of COVID. I think that’s what really makes games so fun, when you have family and friends there to support you. Knowing that the fans came back, that just made everything better.

Do you have any favorite memories from this season?

Before games, as a team we’d get together and talk about what we’re thankful for. That’s something I find very memorable because each and every single player come together with our coach and talk about what we’re thankful for in our life and what makes this game so fun.

Do you play any other sports?

No. … (But) I also play beach (volleyball) throughout the summer … I just figure that since I’m so busy with volleyball and also school, I just want to balance things out.

What are the difference between playing beach and indoor volleyball?

Beach is definitely by far way harder than indoor, from jumping to running on the sand. I will thank beach volleyball for helping me gain a vertical and for me to be faster because of the sand. The sand is a lot harder (to move around on) than the actual court. We’re also in pretty hot weather. It’s pretty tiring when your running around and it’s also hot. I enjoy playing beach volleyball a lot. … It’s two (versus) two and there’s a lot of ground to cover and you’re on the sand. That’s where it’s completely different than indoor.

Outside of volleyball, what are some of your hobbies or interests?

My family is a big karaoke-type family. We love singing. I love singing. I love spending time with my family and friends, and I also really enjoy cooking.

Do you have a favorite karaoke song to sing?

“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

Does your family do karaoke nights? If so, who’s the best?

Yes. My dad bought a karaoke system for our basement. So we always do that with family friends or just our family. So basically everyone in my family sings for fun. … My dad is pretty good. Since we were born Vietnamese, he can sing in Vietnamese and also sing in English.

Have you put much thought into where you’d like to go to college?

I have thought about colleges that I’m considering applying to. Our counselors are really big on college because they want us to do well in the future. I’ve looked into (the University of Southern California). Obviously, that’s a very hard school to get into. I think on the West Coast (is where I’m looking), especially California.

Do you plan on trying to play volleyball in college?

I’ve been considering it. Especially this year, a lot of (my) coaches have talked to me … about playing in college. I guess it’s a confusing subject because right now I play outside (hitter), which is front row and back row for volleyball. But once I go to college, I would definitely stay on the back row because of my height, I would say probably libero or (defensive specialist). I’m considering it. I’m not sure. I don’t know if I’ll play for a D-I, D-II or D-III, but I think I’d consider playing maybe club for a college.

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