Hawkins wants to end final season on high note

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

Eastern senior women’s soccer player Molly Hawkins told herself in sixth grade that she was going to play college soccer.

Whether it was Division I, II or III, she had her mind set on playing soccer at the collegiate level.

Hawkins got off to a good start to her final season at Eastern Friday against Western Illinois, when she scored two goals, which earned her The News’ sports sections’ Athlete of the Week award, “Top Cat”.

Those goals for Hawkins were her first goals since Sept. 14 of the 2013 season against Belmont, when she scored the overtime game-winner.

Hawkins said scoring those goals was a really cool feeling.

“I have always been a defensive player and haven’t been much on the goal scoring end of the game,” Hawkins said. “To switch positions and get on that end is exciting.”

Hawkins’ first goal came early in the first half against Western to tie the game at one from a pass from junior Kathleen MacKinnon.

She would give her team a 2-1 lead at the 45:20 mark of the second half.

Eastern soccer coach Jason Cherry changed Hawkins position in the game Friday from center midfield to center forward, and she played there Sunday as well.

Cherry expects Hawkins to stay in the same position for the two games over the weekend.

Cherry said he did that to find someone that could give him a spark on the attack.

“I just saw Molly all week tucking the ball and scoring goal after goal in practice,” Cherry said. “Molly could do that for us. That is what we were missing in our attack.”

Hawkins has made 38 starts in her career at Eastern and played a career-high of 1,156 minutes in her sophomore season.

She played in all 19 matches last season, making 10 starts, but in her final season at Eastern, Hawkins said she considers herself as one of the leaders on the Panther soccer team.

“It’s nice to be able to show the other girls how to work hard all the time no matter what position coach puts you in,” Hawkins said. “I’ve played a defensive position all through college, and my senior year I am changing to forward. It’s really different.”

Eastern senior and teammate Hannah Miller said Hawkins is simply just a great teammate.

“She is very motivating, a hard worker and adaptable when moved to different positions,” Hawkins said. “She communicates well, is assertive and positive.”

Hawkins was one of 30 Eastern student-athletes that earned the Ohio Valley Conference Academic Medal of Honor last season.

Every recipient that received the award has compiled a 4.0 grade point average, and Hawkins called this a huge honor.

“That’s why were called student-athletes,” Hawkins said. “It’s really important for us to not only perform well on the field but to perform well in the classroom too.”

Hawkins has played multiple sports throughout her life, but started playing soccer really early in life at four or five years old.

Once she got to high school at Evansville North High School in Evansville, Ind., she had a successful career.

Hawkins earned all-conference and all city honors as a senior. She also earned academic all-city honors and participated in the North vs. South All-Star game.

She remembers winning her sectional and going to regionals her senior year, and said that was the best memory she had of her high school career.

“There were only two seniors that year, and I was one of them,” Hawkins said. “It was a great feeling to be apart of.”

Now that Hawkins is in the midst of her final season at Eastern, she wants to end her career knowing she gave it all she got out on the field.

“I came in as a freshman working hard,” Hawkins said. “I want to end as a senior and working hard throughout the whole season. For me, it’s not all about scoring goals. It’s nice to get goals, but it’d also be nice to see my team win and just see everyone leave to season happy.”


Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]