Two perspectives on the battle for equity on the playing field

NU field hockey coach Cheryl Murtagh.
NU field hockey coach Cheryl Murtagh.George Rizer for The Boston Globe

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There were no club teams, no youth leagues, no summer travel teams or skills camps.

The first time Cheryl Murtagh played a team sport was in the fall of 1973, when she began ninth grade at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody and picked up a field hockey stick.

Murtagh, now a Rowley resident, went on to become an All-American at the University of New Hampshire and this fall will begin her 26th season as the field hockey coach at Northeastern University.

Jaclyn Torres of Andover is a three-time Globe All-Scholastic in field hockey and a member of two state championship teams. This fall, she will begin her collegiate career at Brown.

Thanks to advances made possible by Title IX — the ground-breaking gender-equity legislation passed just before Murtagh took the field for the first time — the two women trod two very different paths on the way to athletic stardom.

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