CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. >> Helen Mooney is a well known student-athlete at the Cambridge Central School.
The junior was a key player in the Cambridge girls basketball team's run to the semifinals of the Section II, Class C tournament this past year and has been a solid player for both the Indians girls soccer team and track and field squad during her time at CCS.
This fall, Mooney decided to add another sport to her repertoire by joining the Cambridge football team as a field goal kicker, after the team and coaches asked her to come out for the squad.
"I felt that she was fully capable of helping us out as a field goal kicker from coaching her in both track and basketball," said Cambridge football coach Doug Luke. "We had her try it out for us before in years prior and the coaches and the team knew she can help us win."
Mooney admits she was a little nervous at first to join the team, but decided to give it try because of the support of the coach and players on the football team.
"There is definitely a lot of differences from kicking PATs to kicking a soccer ball," Mooney said. "Biggest difference is the pressure with having one kick possibly win, lose or tie the game."
Before Mooney could join the football team, she and the team needed to get the approval from the Cambridge girls soccer coach Rich Sweeney.
Sweeney, though, was happy to allow to the football team to use Mooney's services.
"The football coaches came to me and said that she would only kick PATS, and I had no problem with it," Sweeney said. "Helen is probably one of the best kickers the football team has had in years."
After her soccer practice, Mooney stays after to work on her field goal kicking and practices with the football team at least once a week with going over PATS.
Mooney's hard work got her off to a hot start for the Indians, hitting 11 out of her first 13 PATs, including going 9-9 in Cambridge's win over Warrensburg that earned her Wasaren League Player of the Week.
"It was quite the experience being able to have a lot of success to start things off," Mooney said. "It's awesome to be able to help the team win."
Throughout the season, Mooney has done good job with kicking extra points for Cambridge, which is a perfect 6-0 going into today's game against Whitehall.
Her success has helped her gain a lot of confidence, which Luke said he notices every time she practices her PATs at practice.
"At first it was like I don't want to do it after she missed a kick and now it's like I want to do another one," Luke said. "Helen has come a long way and it's great to she that she is gaining a lot of confidence and that's a huge thing for a kicker."
Mooney also credits the Cambridge football team as a whole for helping her get better at kicking extra points.
"The guys on the team have been so helpful and so supportive of me," Mooney said. "The coaches and the team have made this such a great experience for me and it's because of them that I think I was able to adapt to the game quicker."
From soccer player to field goal kicker, the fall season has become double duty for Mooney and the junior is happy to be able to do both.
"This has been a great experience for me being able to not only play soccer, but also be a part of our football team," Mooney said. "We'll see what happens in future, but I'm enjoying being able to play soccer and be a field goal kicker on the football team."
Mooney will be in action today when the Indians travel to play Whitehall at 1 p.m.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.