Mullin leads Lions despite injury

After helping launch the Lions to Sectionals of the NCAA Division III Soccer Championship, senior forward Christine Mullin is glad she decided to work through her pain and become a force on the field.

During Mullin’s freshman year, she tore her meniscus. The following year, she managed to tear her ACL just three games into the season. After being sidelined for the entirety of her sophomore year and picking up a medical redshirt, Mullin contemplated whether or not it was worth going through the pain to be able to play.

“I was never really going to quit … but it was tempting,” Mullin said. “Especially after having a hard comeback season last year. But, I knew the team counts on me as captain.”

As the lone senior on the Lions’ squad this year, there is a lot of pressure on Mullin to perform well. After finding out that most do not make the full recovery until the following year, she became more determined to get back on track and decided to remain on the team.

“My teammates and coaches were counting on me,” Mullin said. “But mostly, (I came back) because there were moments last year when I could tell that I still had my old self in me and the injury was just holding me back. I decided to take the winter off from training just to think. I love the game and everything that goes with it: the team, road trips, just memories I wasn’t willing to give up yet.”

During Mullin’s junior year, she started just four games and tallied one goal, making only one-third of her shots on goal during the season (5-of-15).

That following summer, Mullin made a change.

“I played summer league just to see if I still had it,” Mullin said. “There was one game … that I was playing well, feeling like my old self, but what really did it was when I collided with a goalie at full speed and just popped right back up. That is definitely not something I would have done last season. My parents were proud.”

This year, Mullin has made a drastic turnaround, as she is second on the team in points with 21 after scoring nine goals and dishing out three assists. Her shots-on-goal percentage has also increased to .500, as she has put 15 of her 30 shots on goal.

Four of Mullin’s goals this season were game winners. In her last game in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Mullin registered one goal and two assists to contribute to the 10-1 victory over Villa Julie College.

These statistics make Mullin a team leader and an unofficial captain. It took a lot of rehabilitation to get Mullin where she is today, but to her, it was worth it.

“I started running about four months after ACL surgery, but wasn’t able to play soccer again until about eight months, so I was playing only about a month before preseason of my junior year,” Mullin said.

After the disappointing junior year, Mullin got many supporters in her corner, allowing her to push herself back to her normal self.

“I was so down on myself from last year’s personal disappointment that I tried to come in with no pressure on myself as a player; just to try to be a good leader and let the rest come,” Mullin said. “It’s just a bonus that while the team is succeeding, I am as well.”

Mullin continued about her support: “(The team) was as supportive as anyone could be. They knew how painful it was for me physically and mentally so they kind of let me push myself and deal with it on my own rather than putting extra pressure on me. My parents were my biggest supporters throughout my entire career, but that came out most during the time I was injured; they were by my side through everything.”

Mullin has become a role model for all Lions athletes. Through her drive, she has proven what hard work can do and she has shown what a true leader she really is.

Though she redshirted her sophomore year and still has one year left of eligibility, Mullin has decided to graduate this spring. A biology major, she has applied to veterinary medical schools for the fall. Until then, Mullin will continue to lead the Lions through the remainder of the 2006 NCAA tournament.