May 23, 2016
The Natural
Murielle Tiernan featured in VT Magazine article

EDITORS' NOTE: The following story is featured on the website of VT Magazine ( and was written by Delia Maresco. Maresco, a 2016 graduate of Virginia Tech, was a four-year member of the Virginia Tech women's soccer team. For a link to the original story, click here.

By Delia Maresco

As the sun rises over Blacksburg, the thwack of balls drilling the back of a net fills Virginia Tech's cavernous Indoor Practice Facility.

"Don't let her turn you!" shouts women's soccer coach Charles "Chugger" Adair. Forward Murielle Tiernan maneuvers around defending teammates and scores. There are smirks and smiles all around. Adair's instructions are easier said than done.

A natural on the field, Tiernan has scored with every body part legal in the game, and opponents have no choice but to double-mark her during goal-threatening opportunities. Despite the defensive efforts, the 5-foot-11 junior from Ashburn, Virginia, is the Hokies' all-time leading goal scorer, with 39 goals in just three years.

"I've never been focused on records or scoring," Tiernan said. "Honestly, as long as we're winning the game, as long as we're doing well, I don't care who's scoring, I don't care how we're scoring, [and] I don't care if it's pretty. I just care that we win."

Named to the 2015 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American third team and the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team, Tiernan, who's majoring in residential environments and design, is relentless in the classroom, too. She's been named to the ACC All-Academic Team each year of her college career.

While some players agonize over game film and spend hours getting touches on the ball, Tiernan relies on her strength, speed, and innate ability to be in the right place at the right time. "I just try to go out and do the best I can every game without overthinking it," she said.

Among her many successes, Tiernan points to Tech's 2013 trip to the College Cup as an outstanding moment. That year, her penalty kick advanced the Hokies to the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight for the first time in school history. When the ball hit the back of the net, she wasn't even aware that the Hokies had won.

Aside from tangling with the best defenders in the country, Tiernan fights another battle. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 6, she'll tell you she's neither amazing nor commendable; it's just who she is. She's that good.

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