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Mulvaney helps CdM get off to fast start

Daily Pilot High School Girls’ Athlete of the Week

Sophomore goalie Kendall Mulvaney, who had seven shutouts in a row, stepped right in for a stout Sea Kings defense.

January 06, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar sophomore goalie Kendall Mulvaney is the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar sophomore goalie Kendall Mulvaney is the… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

The first word Kendall Mulvaney used to describe winning Most Valuable Player of the Los Tacos Holiday Tournament was "unexpected."

Mulvaney, a sophomore, said she wanted to share the award with her teammates on defense for the Corona del Mar High girls' soccer team. She knows she has plenty of support back there with senior sweeper Sydney Raguse, sophomore stopper Molly Keasey, senior left back Amanda Stephenson and junior right back Alana Hunter.

"I really worked my hardest in that tournament and I tried my best," Mulvaney said. "I'm glad it paid off, but I honestly think it should be [team] defense MVP. We had some crazy stops that saved our games and got us all the shutouts. It was exciting."

Still, as goalkeeper, Mulvaney is the last line of defense. And she has been downright stingy to opposing teams at the start of the year.

She earned that MVP award after helping the Sea Kings win a tournament for the first time in Coach Bryan Middleton's 10-year tenure. Four shutouts at the tournament gave her seven in a row, as CdM (12-1-1) is also off to its best start under Middleton.

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"To get four shutouts in a row in a tournament, that's just huge," Middleton said. "That doesn't happen all the time. She had some very big saves in the tournament. There were a couple long throw-ins where she did well, came out and won the ball out of the air."

Mulvaney had reason to feel confident. She's been playing goalie for about six years now, and she plays club soccer for West Coast FC. But this is the girl who wasn't even slated to be the Sea Kings' starting goalie to open the year.

It was supposed to be Stanford-bound senior Sarah Cox, who was coming back from an ACL injury that kept her sidelined for her entire junior year. CdM was fine at goalkeeper last year, as Newport-Mesa Player of the Year Lindsey Luke, now at Wake Forest, came back to high school soccer and had a big senior season.

But Cox got injured again, hurting her sternum. Mulvaney, who had limited playing time on varsity as a freshman, was cast into a starting role.

Talk to Mulvaney, and she's humble. She said it's an honor to play on a talented team like CdM, which has six Division I commits. The Sea Kings are ranked No. 10 nationally in the Powerade Fab 50, and No. 8 by the National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America. Their only loss this season has been to Westview of San Diego, a top-three team in the nation in both polls.

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