NEWTON, Mass. – McKenzie Meehan is the silent leader for the Boston College women’s soccer team. But her game is about as loud as the speakers that blast through the Newton Soccer Field during the pregame warmups. The forward has purpose with every touch; exploding with pace toward the goal, typically drawing the entire line of defense towards her with her crafty movement.
On Sunday, the Boston College Eagles (5-0-1) played the Pacific Tigers (0-5-0) where Meehan–ranked No.10 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer–added a goal and an assist for a 5-1 win. Meehan and freshman Jenna Bike combined for a one-two passing sequence that eventually found its way back to Meehan’s foot for her goal. The Rhode Island native has scored five goals in the past six games.
Meehan’s No. 22 jersey was everywhere on the field against Pacific. From box to box, Meehan hustled back on defense just as much as she pushed forward offensively. It’s hard to imagine Boston College soccer without Meehan, and rightly so. The redshirt senior has been a part of the team since 2012.
“I feel so much healthier this season,” Meehan told Excelle Sports after the game on Sunday. “Last year I was still kind of recovering the whole season.”
Meehan’s junior season took an unexpected turn when she suffered a torn Achilles heel after a mirror sliced the back of her right heel in a freak accident. Although she started all 20 games for the Eagles last season, Meehan feels like this year she is fully back.
“As a human being, McKenzie is probably one of the strongest people I have ever met,” BC head coach Alison Foley told Excelle Sports postgame. “She’s had to overcome some pretty big obstacles in her career here, a lot that people may have given up at different times. Her strength of endurance is unbelievable it just has built her, she’s always been a good soccer player, but its built her to deal with pressure situations.”
Before the achilles injury, Meehan played for the U.S. National Team in the Under-20 CONCACAF Championship. She scored six goals in the tournament and was awarded the Golden Boot, the highest honor for goal scoring. And despite the injury, Meehan has stayed in the national team system, and recently traveled to England with the Under-23 team.
Meehan shrugged off most compliments after the game against Pacific. She preferred to discuss how her teammates have built her, sitting on the very field they had just won on. Five goals in the past six games, something has to be clicking. Before she answered, Meehan looked down and rolled the turf bead between her hands.
“It’s honestly a reflection of the team, we have so many offensive threats,” Meehan said. “Kayla [Jennings] has four goals; Hayley [Dowd] has a couple.” Meehan leads the team with five goals and 11 points.
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“She’s the one when you’re behind knows how to get you over that hump, she’s the one when you don’t have control over the game and its getting a little ugly and gets us back in consistent and in a good rhythm,” Foley said.
Although Pacific wasn’t a true test to Meehan’s leadership, she never once turned off the switch. Her time on the field was known, from sliding to keep the ball inbounds to creating opportunities for her teammates crashing the box.
“I want to lead the team further than we have ever been,” Meehan said. The Eagles went to the Elite Eight her sophomore year. “It would be awesome to go to the Final Four. Obviously I want to score and assist as many goals as I can because that’s what I can contribute.”
“McKenzie Meehan, obviously she’s a goal scorer and so talented, but she stays after practice more than anyone I know. We could be doing summer camp triple sessions and she’ll want to go in between sessions and ask to do a finishing session with me,” Foley said.
Meehan can appear intense; her head is down, hair tightly tied back in a pony tail–yet, when asked how she would describe her team, “Fun,” she said.
“In years past we weren’t as close. But this year with such a big group of freshmen we don’t want a separation, so we have just kind of integrated everyone,” Meehan said.
Meehan has thought about entering the National Women’s Soccer League draft after she finishes up her college career. In the meantime, the 2013 recipient of the Athletics Director’s Award for Academic Achievement is getting her MBA.