Mullins National Coach of the Year! Katie McLaughlin National Player of the Year

Mullins National Coach of the Year! Katie McLaughlin National Player of the Year

DVC soccer coach Cailin Mullins has been selected as NSCAA National Coach of the Year for Division III Junior College Women's Soccer.
Mullins' honor follows the selection of Vikings sophomore keeper Katie McLaughlin (College Park HS) as National Division III Player of the Year. McLaughlin is also an All-American along with Vikings freshman midfielder Vanessa Ruvalcaba (Pittsburg HS).
A former Stanford assistant who played at the University of Maryland, Mullins guided the Vikings to a best-ever finish, No. 2 in the state.
"It's kind of hard to imagine," Mullins said Monday of the big award. "It's certainly not something that you ever anticipate happening, even with the season that we had. It's just a tremendous amount of pride. To think of a national award, it's hard to kind of contemplate that."
Mullins says she has appreciation for the team and the coaching staff, which also includes Alex Lobban and Julio Borge.
Clearly it's been a whirlwind of a postseason after a special season that included DVC's first Big 8 Conference title and first advancement past Round 2 of the region playoffs. DVC was 4-1 in the playoffs, outscoring five opponents a combined 13-3. The most memorable wins came against Delta, 1-0 in Round 3, and Santa Barbara 2-0 in the state semifinal.
Now the awards are rolling in.
DVC striker Noelle Lemos was recently named Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year, and McLaughlin was Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year.
Mullins was announced as North Region Coach of the Year at the state banquet.
"The excitement keeps coming at us," Mullins said. "It seems like each day ... Alex was selected as assistant coach of the year through the NSCAA, and Katie being the National Player of the Year. We keep getting email message after email message with very exciting news."
A West Virginia native, Mullins just completed her 16th season at DVC. She is a thoughtful presence with a deep sense of the game and an ability to connect with her players.
Mullins described receiving the individual and team accomplishments as being "very special. It just kind of shows you the power of the team is very important. I tell the kids all the time it's always nice to have the individual acknowledgements, but it's really the team that has enabled those to happen."
McLaughlin had an incredible performance in Ventura, working a shutout in a 2-0 triumph over Santa Barbara in the state semifinal, and then making 17 saves in a 2-0 overtime loss to hard-pressing Cerritos in the final.
"Katie was just a steady force back there throughout the season," Mullins said. "She's come so far in her communication and her organization of the defense, that was a big part of us conceding so few goals throughout the course of the season, as well as her goalkeeping ability."
McLaughlin didn't have to make a ton of saves overall, but she delivered at the key moments with tremendous stops, including against NorCal powers Delta and Folsom Lake.
"In the Cerritos game she was the reason we made it that long," Mullins added. "She took on so many shots in that game. It was just without her it would have been a much different game."
* Matt Schwab

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