Mahoney makes most of opportunity

Butler junior defender Kelly Mahoney received an offer from only one school to play Division I soccer. Other schools might regret letting Mahoney slip through the cracks.

Mahoney was named second-team All-Atlantic 10 in 2012. She started the majority of the squad’s matches in both her freshman and sophomore seasons and has started seven of the team’s eight matches this season, all despite the fact she is a non-scholarship player.

Assistant coach Ric Huffman first saw Mahoney play while recruiting junior forward Elise Kotsakis from the same Chicago area club team. Before long, the Butler coaching staff began to take notice of Mahoney’s talent as well.

“The more that Ric had seen that team play, Kelly Mahoney stood out just as a very consistent player,” co-head coach Tari St. John said. “If you go watch one of her games one time, you probably don’t notice her. You watch her four or five times, and you’re like, ‘Hey, that kid’s pretty consistent. She’s pretty steady.’”

St. John said Mahoney fit the style of play the team likes to see from its recruits.

“She’s very technical, she’s very smooth,” St. John said. “But she could also tackle and win balls in the air. We thought she’d be a very good fit for how we saw the game should be played.”

Kotsakis said she estimates she has played alongside Mahoney since they were in sixth grade.

“I’ve known her for a really long time, and we’ve been really good friends ever since playing on club,” Kotsakis said. “It’s really cool to have that transfer over to high school. That helps a lot. You know that connection between the two of you going into college, both on and off the field.

“In the last four years with her, she’s improved so much in confidence level, how she plays. She’s one of the best players on our team.”

Although Mahoney is a defender, she has a scoring touch. She was second on the team in goals last season with four, and is tied for the second most goals on the team this season with two.

Both of her goals this season have been game-winners, including one in overtime at Bowling Green on Aug. 31.

“Basically, my only opportunity to score is off corners, so I’m expected to do that,” Mahoney said. “The team counts on me to go to hard areas to put the ball in the air.

“(Junior forward/midfielder) Stephanie Kaylor, she plays a perfect ball every time.”

The pharmacy major was named academic all-Atlantic 10 last season while also being selected to the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Butler Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

“You have to manage your time,” Mahoney said. “You have to do your homework on the road, on the plane. The coaches put school first.”

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