For The Love of The Game: Kate Mahoney’s Journey

Kate Mahoney, the Wilkes Women’s Soccer team goalkeeper, has come a long way. She is a graduating senior who has been an important part of the team from the start.

She appeared on the John Mendola Show in the beginning of her season. John Mendola is a radio host who interviews local coaches and student athletes from high school and college in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Her coach put her up for the interview. She described her time playing soccer at Wilkes.

Mahoney is a marketing major with a minor in accounting. She is very passionate about her major along with soccer.

A five and a half hour drive separates her from her family in Kingston, New Hampshire. However, it does not stop her parents from attending her games. She has a sister in northern New Hampshire, and another in Connecticut. They all play sports so it has been tough for them to attend all of their daughter’s games this year.

Mahoney started her senior season slowly. She was not performing as well as she knew she could. She also knew the team had potential to do much better as the season progressed.

The soccer season is coming to a close soon, and Mahoney has played an outstanding season. She received the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom Player of the Week twice in her final season. Her first award was for making four saves in the 2-0 win against William Paterson, and eight saves in the 2-1 double overtime loss against Arcadia. The second award was named the following week of the first award. She made seven saves in a 1-0 loss against Susquehanna, and made five saves in the 1-0 win against Stevenson.

“Last season I coached soccer and played golf because I couldn’t play,” said Mahoney. She continued, “This season has been so taxing on my body because of practicing instead of just coaching.”

October of Mahoney’s sophomore year, she sustained a concussion that pulled her out of the game for over a year. She was injured in her game against Cortland.

“I tend to think, would I have been able to save that shot if I had not taken a year and a half off?” said Mahoney. Although sometimes she can be hard on herself, she tries not to dwell on it because she does not like negativity.

Soccer was not the only thing that she struggled with after her concussion. Her classwork had to come to a halt due to her injury. Some of her classes resulted in incompletes because she was unable to keep up with the work. Other professors worked very closely with her in order to help her pass, especially her classes that were prerequisites to other classes.

“I couldn’t study, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do anything for about four months,” Mahoney said. She was hit on her right temple, above her right eye twice in a row which is what made her concussion so bad. Her overall reaction time had slowed, her vision had changed, and her balance was unsteady.

To recuperate, she had to see a therapist who taught her various techniques to get her to focus once again. The main therapy she had to do was to focus her eyes on a moving target.

She has overcome her adversities with help from her head coach, John Sumoski, her goalkeeper coach, Elizabeth Pauly and the Adventure Education coordinator, Jill Price. They have shed positivity onto her.

After her first double-header, Mahoney felt really down after letting two goals go past her. She chose to speak with her roommate Megan Binder for comfort. Binder had just come back from her ACL tear.

“We are never going to win this way if I keep letting goals past me,” Mahoney said.

“I am just so happy that we can play together again in our senior year,” Binder said. Mahoney knew that was the turning point for her. She realized that when she first started, all that mattered to her was winning. Now she is just grateful to be able to play.

“If I didn’t make those saves, my week was ruined. But now, at least I get to play. That is all that I want.” Mahoney said.

Mahoney believes her performance may be a bit lower than freshman year, but her presence on the field is greater. She is very vocal.

She attributes her leadership and management skills to her soccer career. She started an internship, and believes they wanted her because she has these skills from soccer. The internship has given her the opportunity to work after college.

“I think what they don’t teach in classes is how to motivate different types of people, individually, because not everybody’s the same. That’s what you can learn on a sports team. You can get each individual pumped up,” Mahoney said.

She believes that walking away from soccer would have been a terrible decision. She knew that she could come back and she set her mind to it. For everyone who is overcoming an injury or experiencing a setback, Mahoney is proof that it can be overcome.

Mahoney clears the ball downfield during a a recent game.
Mahoney clears the ball downfield during a a recent game.