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Athlete of the Year - Morgan Kinyon
6-15 OAK AOY Kinyon
A stellar senior year for 2011 Oakdale High graduate Morgan Kinyon saw her put together a terrific water polo and soccer season that set new standards at OHS. Kinyon, shown here donned in a water polo cap, soccer goalie gloves and a shirt from William Jessup University (where she will continue her career), is the 2011 Oakdale Leader Female Athlete of the Year. - photo by Photo illustration by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER

Morgan Kinyon's goal is to have no goals.

It sounds bad, but the slogan doesn’t fit because of Kinyon’s lack of motivation, it’s because of her profession.

The two-sport star and 2011 Oakdale High graduate fiercely guarded the goal this school year in front of the water polo and soccer nets, allowing few scores to slip past her grasp. No goals would have been ideal, but no one’s perfect — though Kinyon seems to often flirt with the idea.

Her prowess in the nets this school year led Oakdale water polo and soccer teams to their best seasons in school history. Both programs attribute Kinyon’s stellar goaltending as a big reason for their record finishes.

Kinyon’s success in both sports made for a clear-cut selection as the 2010-11 Oakdale Leader Female Athlete of the Year.

She led the girls water polo team to its first ever conference championship, the exact same honor first achieved by the 2011 Lady Mustang soccer team, which finished their season as runners-up in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship on May 21.

“We had several tough games this year that we won basically because Morgan was a warrior who would not be passed,” Oakdale soccer coach Alfredo Quiroga said. “Coaches from other teams know the main reason we could not be defeated has a lot to do with the kind of goalkeeper Morgan is.”

And local coaches weren’t the only ones to take notice. Kinyon had a handful of options of where to continue her soccer career, and ultimately opted to sign a letter of intent to compete with William Jessup University on a partial soccer scholarship.

She departs for the Rocklin campus on Aug. 8 to begin two-a-day practices sessions with WJU just one season after the Warriors claimed a California Pacific Conference Championship and qualification for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament.

“I am looking for a new adventure and I think it will be a great experience at William Jessup,” Kinyon said on Sunday. “It’s exciting but also a little nerve-racking.”

Kinyon said she has been conditioning this summer in accordance with the Warriors’ offseason workout plan to stay in shape and prepare for a grueling August pace of practices.

And while Kinyon is animated over the opportunity to compete at the next level, William Jessup has the honor of rostering one of the most accomplished netminders in the Central Valley’s athletic history.

Kinyon’s clutch stops led Oakdale’s water polo team to one-sided scores throughout the regular season. including a historic first win over Modesto Metro Conference juggernaut, Johansen. Oakdale went undefeated to win a Valley Foothill League title (its first ever title) and bounced Whitney 13-2 in the opening round of playoffs. Their season came to a close after an exciting 7-6 loss to host Woodcreek.

While Kinyon excelled as a water polo goalie for three straight seasons, she only got into the position because of her soccer career.

She started soccer at age four and hit the competitive scene with Modesto Ajax as a determined goalkeeper at ten years of age. She then held down the net for comp teams in Manteca and Oakdale, spending most of her youth traveling to tournaments across the state with a variety of local clubs.

She made her varsity debut as a freshman when junior starter Jenny Paugh went down with an injury. Kinyon led the team in saves (61) and shutouts (eight) that season. A year later Kinyon patiently honed her skills as Paugh saw the majority of net time, but erupted for 10 shutouts and 93 saves as a junior starter.

She added 10 more shutouts in 2011, but landed an astounding 152 saves for a career total 363 stops within the frame.

“She came to this team with a lot of momentum and energy and was just very aggressive with feline reflexes and a work ethic second to none,” Quiroga said. “She is very tough coming out of the box, which is why I think she will do very well wherever she goes in her career.”

Kinyon’s 2011 exploits didn’t just set career highs. Her dominance of the VOL net led to a rare selection as the conference MVP and played a big part in back-to-back overtime wins that propelled Oakdale to the section championship game.

“I was really surprised when I heard I was the league MVP,” Kinyon said. “I was just honored to be recognized in that way, and it was a really awesome feeling at the end of my senior year.

“It was just so incredibly exciting to be a part of both water polo and soccer teams that reached our goal of first ever league championships.”