Passion, by its very nature, sometimes overrides perspective, though it can almost never be separated from success.
Corona del Mar High senior Kennedy Mulvaney has rare passion for lacrosse and competitive excellence. And, in addition to refining an all-around game that both decorates and transcends the stat sheet, the Sea Kings count heavily upon her for leadership.
So, true to the conscientious intention she brings to her athletic and academic pursuits (she boasts a 4.4 grade-point average), Mulvaney has worked hard to become a more effective leader this season.
"I am a very passionate player," said Mulvaney, who helped lead CdM to an unbeaten Pacific Coast League championship and a berth in the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division quarterfinals. "One thing I love about high school lacrosse is making other people feel this passion."
CdM Coach Aly Simons said Mulvaney has made strides this season in channeling her passion into more effective leadership, just as she has channeled that drive to succeed into a scholarship to continue her lacrosse career at Fresno State.
"The No. 1 thing about Kennedy, and I've coached her since she was in the second grade, is that she has always been a passionate person," Simons said. "She plays with a lot of emotion and intensity that can be such a positive example on the field. She leads by example, but she is also the main voice out there. She gives a lot of pep talks and encouragement."
Mulvaney's drive to succeed is apparent to those who watch her play. Though a lean 5 feet 7, her determination and awareness help her navigate through defenders as a dangerous attacker.
"Though she has a thinner build, she is incredibly strong and she is not afraid of contact," Simons said. "[Coming into the playoffs], she had 57 goals and 47 assists. That shows you she is confident to drive and score, but looks to create opportunities for others. That's a huge assist number."
Simons also said Mulvaney's intelligence and experience allow her to create difficulties for opponents in other areas.
"She had 17 interceptions [in the regular season], which shows she is playing defense over the whole field," Simons said.
Mulvaney, whose parents played lacrosse in high school in Massachusetts and who has three sisters who have or are currently playing the sport, including senior twin Katherine, said she takes pride in her ability to see the game unfold.
"I'm very academic and I love thinking," Kennedy Mulvaney said. "I think the kind of player I am has a lot to do with my mental game. I think I have a good lacrosse IQ. My dad jokes with me that I need to drink Muscle Milk, and I'm always thinking about ways to use my lacrosse IQ to compensate for any disadvantages due to my stature."
Mulvaney, who competes for the San Diego Stars club program, said she plans to pursue a double major of biochemistry and kinesiology at Fresno State. Just now, her sights are set on a career as an athletic trainer. But, she said, she is likely to coach lacrosse on some level in the years to come.
"I will be trying to involve myself in the lacrosse community wherever I end up after college," Mulvaney said.
Born: Sept. 18, 1999
Hometown: Newport Beach
Height: 5 feet 7
Coach: Aly Simons
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite movie: "Me Before You"
Favorite athletic moment: "Beating Foothill in the last 10 seconds in the playoffs my freshman year."
Week in review: She had three goals, four assists, four ground balls and three interceptions in a 12-3 win over Northwood on April 24. She had four goals, three assists, two ground balls and two interceptions in a 20-3 win over Irvine on April 26. She had four goals and two ground balls in a 14-9 loss to Foothill on April 28.