With records in hand, Moran sets sight on state title
HUNTINGTON — Now in her senior year, McKenzie Moran collected two career milestones in leading the Huntington St. Joe girls soccer team and has a goal of collecting one elusive milestone — getting the Fighting Irish past the sectional round of the state playoffs.
In the first game of the 2018 season, Moran netted her 100th goal in a Fighting Irish win over Linsly. She then set the all-time girls/boys school record with 119 goals in a Sept. 19 win at Herbert Hoover that put her ahead of Nate Hugh.
Accurate records for the St. Joe girls soccer program are hard to come by, but assistant coach Ben Eng estimates Moran passed the all-time girls scoring mark in her sophomore season, if not her freshman season.
The 100th goal was special for Moran.
“It was a big goal of mine since the first day I stepped on a soccer field,” she said. “I remember the moment when (former Charleston Catholic player) Caroline Dundervill scored her 112th goal in the sectional championship against us and how happy she was and I always told myself I wanted to feel that way.”
Moran was a freshman when that happened and the event left an impression. Back then head coach Nick Turner said he was just out of college and had just started coaching at St. Joe with Eng when Moran joined the team.
Turner remembered seeing Moran at the team’s first practice and said she impressed him right away.
“Here was this fast player and I thought, ‘This girl is going to be something special,’” Turner said. “What separates McKenzie from the rest of the players in this area and the rest of West Virginia is her work ethic, she’s versatile and her stamina. Those things will make her great at the college level too.”
Moran was recognized immediately after scoring the 100th goal as play was stopped and she was congratulated by coaches and teammates.
A girls/boys school record didn’t cross her mind until later in the season.
“I didn’t think I would make it to Nate’s goal, so I never thought I’d make it until my coach told me at the Herbert Hoover game that I was close and that I could do it that game,” she said.
Moran scored three goals against Herbert Hoover to secure the alltime school mark.
Now Moran sees only one more thing she needs to accomplish and that is getting St. Joe past the sectional round of the playoffs.
That will be tough to do with the Fighting Irish being in the same section with powerhouse Winfield. The Generals eliminated St. Joe last season, but Turner and Moran feel there is something different about this team with both saying they think its possible to advance to the regional playoffs, if not the state championship.
For Moran, who has already left her mark on St. Joe girls soccer, a state championship would put the program on a level approaching the Irish girls basketball team that has won nine state championships in 11 seasons.
After graduation the Utah native will return west and continue her soccer career at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where she will major in pre-med.