There are similarities, Shannon Mulroy said, between great goalkeepers in soccer and great point guards in basketball.
Mulroy happens to excel at both for Lenape.
Both positions require a player to direct traffic. Both require vision and foresight, an advanced feel for the game that can elevate teammates.
These happen to be Mulroy’s specialties. And they’re the qualities that the Indians — a team with perennially high expectations — will lean on in what should be a big senior year for their star point guard.
“This year, we want the ball in her hands. I don’t want her off the court,” Indians coach Rob Hummel said of Mulroy. “When she’s on the court, we’re definitely a better team.
“We look to her to make plays. And we know she’ll make the right play.”
Mulroy’s balancing act between two sports was made even more impressive in August when she committed to Cornell, where she’ll continue her basketball career.
In an era dominated by players specializing in one sport, Mulroy managed to excel in two while setting herself up for an Ivy League education.
“I just have fun playing both of my sports. I think that’s one of the things that makes me want to work hard and get better,” Mulroy said. “It’s the same thing in the classroom. And I’m just really competitive in everything I do. I always want to be the best in everything that I do. And that pushes me to work harder.”
Though she probably could have played either sport in college — and has been playing both for virtually her entire life — Mulroy said she fell in love with basketball at an early age.
“I just remember coming home when I was little and never wanting to stop. I would dribble in my garage or shoot outside. I would always want to keep playing,” Mulroy said.
By the time she got to high school for the 2015-16 season, Mulroy was advanced enough to see major minutes on a Lenape team that won the program’s first state title and a school-record 31 games.
Though she didn’t start that year, Hummel said he was surprised when he took a closer look at the numbers and realized that Mulroy scored in every game that season. It’s a sign, he said, of the steadying, consistent presence Mulroy is for his program.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my time at Lenape to have girls that just bring it every year. They come with great energy. They work hard every day,” Hummel said. “And Shannon is definitely our leader in that this year.”
Mulroy, who averaged 11.2 points per game on last year’s Lenape team that finished with a 17-10 record, is the only player left on the Indians who was a regular varsity contributor on that 2016 state championship team.
Every year, she has taken on more leadership. Every year, she has advanced her game.
And she’s planning on doing the same as a senior.
“It’s something I take really seriously,” Mulroy said on the task of leading her team. “I’m just trying to stay positive, encourage my teammates.