When Evelyn Baher-Murphy joined the Los Altos High girls lacrosse team as a freshman, the fledgling Eagles were coming off an 0-17 season. So leading Saratoga by a goal at halftime of the 2017 season opener was a major accomplishment.
“I remember (co-captain) Katie Radcliffe saying, ‘We won our first half!’” she said. “We celebrated.”
The Eagles won that game by three goals and finished the year with an 8-12 record. They improved to 11-8 in Baher-Murphy’s sophomore season and last year made the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League playoffs for the first time. She started on all those teams.
Baher-Murphy expected Los Altos to have even more success this spring. But after a 2-0 start, the coronavirus pandemic put an end to the season.
“I was pretty bummed – it’s my last season and this is the strongest team we’ve had,” said Baher-Murphy, who was in her third year as team captain. “We had a lot of experienced players coming back and a lot of us played club in the offseason. I was excited to see how far we could go.”
At least her lacrosse career will go on; Baher-Murphy has committed to play for Colorado College. A midfielder for Los Altos and her club team, the Tigers recruited her to play defender.
“I visited in June and met with the lacrosse coach and then went back in October and stayed with a player,” Baher-Murphy said of her interactions with the NCAA Division III college in Colorado Springs. “Everyone was super nice and outdoorsy. I enjoyed the community.”
She also liked the small private school’s class schedule.
“It’s really interesting,” Baher-Murphy said. “You take one class for 3 1/2 weeks and then you get four days off.”
But the Mountain View resident may not get many days off now that she’s decided to play a second sport. Baher-Murphy said she was invited to play for the women’s basketball team as well and last week committed to doing to so.
While she acknowledged that “lacrosse is my main sport,” Baher-Murphy has played basketball even longer. She started at age 5, then added lacrosse in third grade and field hockey when she came to Los Altos.
“I’ve always enjoyed team sports,” she said, “because I like the people aspect.”
Baher-Murphy has played on plenty of them since arriving at Los Altos. She not only made the varsity lacrosse team as a freshman, but also played four years of varsity field hockey. She earned a spot on the varsity girls basketball team as a sophomore and served as co-captain this year.
“Evelyn’s our motor – she’s our go,” Eagles basketball coach Jaclyn Brode said of the guard/forward after she helped the team beat rival Mountain View in January. “She is by far our leader vocally and energy-wise.”
Baher-Murphy led Los Altos in assists and steals this year, ranked second in rebounds and was the team’s third-leading scorer. Her efforts helped the Eagles make a smooth transition to the SCVAL’s upper division, the De Anza, in which they went 6-6 to finish fourth.
“We really surprised ourselves this season,” Baher-Murphy said of the Eagles, whose 12-14 overall record included a first-round win in the Central Coast Section playoffs. “We really came together.”
She noted that the team’s best victory of the season came Jan. 24 against Palo Alto, the eventual De Anza Division champion.
“That felt really good,” Baher-Murphy said. “We beat them by a good margin (46-37), so they couldn’t write it off as some fluke.”
Her lacrosse team won its two games this season by decisive margins as well. Although Baher-Murphy scored a career-high 10 goals in the Eagles’ March 6 opener against Willow Glen, she savored next day’s win over Carlmont even more.
“That was really fun,” she said of the 17-7 blowout,” because we got to sub in all the other players.”
Baher-Murphy isn’t the first lacrosse player in her family. Her mom played in high school and so did her uncle.
“My cousin had played one season and then somehow I ended up playing,” she said.
Baher-Murphy added that she likes the “physicality” of lacrosse and the camaraderie.
“The girls I’ve met through lacrosse are fun to be around,” she said.
She hopes that continues in college. While the shelter-in-place orders have limited the training Baher-Murphy can do to prepare for next season, she said, “I try to work out as much as I can.”
Her training regimen includes running in the neighborhood and practicing against a wall.
“I’ve also been doing some stick tricks,” she said. “They’re not practical, but they get me more comfortable with the stick.”