MARQUETTE, Mich.—Each semester of the 2018-19 academic year, Northern Michigan University Athletics will highlight nine different student-athletes or stories for their significance on and off the playing surface. The features are due to be released approximately every two weeks in accordance with the corresponding athletic seasons. Each feature will touch on student-athletes and their interesting and unique journeys at Northern Michigan University.
While attending Saint Joseph's College, and NCAA Division II institution in the Midwest Region, the players were told before Christmas break that their school was going to be put on financial probation. After traveling back to the States after the holiday break, Murray and Olpin were confronted with the news that once the year was over, Saint Joseph's College would be closing its doors.
"The process after school closed was quite panicky really." Olpin said of learning the news. "We found out probably mid-February. It was quite late in terms of recruitment."
"The first coach we spoke to was actually out (NMU) football coach," Murray said of his first exposure to NMU. "He came down to St. Joe to recruit football players, and Coach Poggi asked him to speak to a few of our players, as well."
Eventually, the duo hopped together to take their recruiting their recruiting visit to Marquette, Michigan and Northern Michigan University. Not long after, both former Pumas made the commitment to continue their academic and athletic careers as Wildcats.
Since joining the Wildcats prior to the 2017 season, both Murray and Olpin have played key roles in the young program's success. Murray started in all 17 matches he appeared in as a sophomore and has started six of his seven contests in 2018. Olpin has competed in every match during his two seasons, garnering the start on 24 occasions.
Murray anchored the back line for the NMU defense in 2017 by holding their opponents to less than 1.50 goals per contest. His first goal as a Wildcats came on September 22, 2017 against Purdue University-Northwest, and he has added two more goals this season. Murray is continuing to be a staple on the Wildcat back line as the team has not allowed a goal to their opponent in five-plus matches.
Olpin started his NMU career by recording three points as a sophomore. He netted his first Wildcat goal on October 20, 2017 in a draw with Ashland University after earning an assist early in the season. H has seen an offensive outburst in 2018 with four goals and four more assists. He was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the week on September 17 after recording seven points on three goals and an assist in two matches over the weekend.
Currently, Murray and Olpin have helped push the Wildcats to a number of program firsts in 2018 starting the year with a 6-1-2 overall record just three years since the program began competition. The team is currently in the middle of an eight-match unbeaten streak and have shutout their opponent for the five-consecutive matches. Additionally, the Wildcats appeared in the United Soccer Coaches' Top-25 National Poll for the first time in program history and have climbed to No. 22
"The whole process of coming out here has been crazy, obviously, with a school shutting down," Murray said of his time in Marquette. "I've got no regrets. I mean, ending up here, I'm really happy."
"We obviously have a great bunch of lads and I think that's really important, as well." Olpin said his team. "It's not just about us being successful. It's about us enjoying ourselves."