Back to Basics
Nov. 5, 2008
BERKELEY - From the manner in which redshirt sophomore forward Lisa Kevorkian dominates the competition on the soccer field, you would never guess that she had her 2007 campaign cut short by a knee injury. After tearing her posterior cruciate ligament early last season, Kevorkian has rebounded to become this year's second-leading scorer on the No. 13 California women's soccer team.
Kevorkian, a native of Arcadia, Calif., tore her PCL in a tournament game at Saint Mary's when she went one on one with the opposing goalkeeper.
'I tried to get my head on the ball and when I planted my right leg, the keeper slid and hit my knee and she flipped me vertically, and I landed on my head and neck,' Kevorkian recalls. 'Everyone thought I had broken my neck from how I landed but it was my knee that hurt.'
At first glance, the trainers thought it was an ACL tear but further tests showed it was Kevorkian's PCL and she would not require surgery. Kevorkian spent the remainder of the year watching her team practice instead of playing.
Instead of wallowing in the setback, Kevorkian took the injury in stride and used it to her advantage to become a stronger player and to better appreciate her time on the field. As a result of her physical limitations, she spent time relearning the fundamentals of the game.
'I got to start over and really focus on the basics of the game,' Kevorkian says. 'I think I've become more dynamic and an explosive player. Last year I was taking it for granted, but now I come out here and every day is a gift.'
Kevorkian, who played on her first soccer team at age four, picked up the sport because her two older brothers played in recreational leagues. While playing club soccer, she began thinking about playing in the collegiate ranks. Kevorkian was considering several schools on the East Coast, but decided on Cal after her parents took her for a campus visit.
'I remember climbing up to the football stadium and looking out at the bay and I knew that this was where I was supposed to be,' Kevorkian says. 'I came to the team and right away, I had 20 best friends. It has been a great fit for me.'
Her teammates and coach have taken notice of the hard work that she put in to rehabilitating her knee as well as the impact she has made this year on the pitch.
'She's a tremendous role model for all those around her,' head coach Neil McGuire says. 'She works extremely hard and is very serious about her sport and academics. Overall she has got a tremendous spirit.'
When not playing soccer, she has a wide range of hobbies, ranging from songwriting to fishing and skateboarding. A trivia buff, Kevorkian watches the television show Jeopardy every night and hopes to one day compete on the show. She is so diligent in her Jeopardy studies that she logs the questions she answers correctly. Kevorkian is majoring in media studies and plans to pursue a career in athletic advertising.
'I get so excited about Jeopardy!' says Kevorkian. 'I average about 20 correct answers per night. I had a trivia themed birthday party over the summer. My best categories are history, literature and whatever the last category is each night where it centers on words.'
Spending the majority of 2007 on the sidelines offered Kevorkian a unique perspective on the team, which was in its first year under coach McGuire. Now that she has taken a more active role in the team, Kevorkian is proud of her personal progress as well as that of the entire team.
'Last year, I was an observer, and this year I'm in it,' Kevorkian says. 'We've learned Neil's system better because we've had it for two years. We're mixing our intuition with what he's been coaching us with, and that's proving deadly.'
Kevorkian is currently the team's second-leading scorer with six goals and a team-leading three game winning goals in 12 games. She has already exceeded her freshman year performance of five points. She notes that one of her favorite Cal memories occurred during her first year when she registered the game winning assist in the 89th minute in a 1-0 triumh over No. 11 Stanford.
The Bears closed out their 2008 nonconference schedule with a 7-3-0 mark.As of Oct. 15, Cal was tied for first in the Pac-10 after going undefeated in the conference openers, the first time the Bears have won their first two Pac-10 games since 2005. In the 1-0 win over Oregon State on Oct. 10 and the 5-1 victory against Oregon on Oct. 12, the Bears outshot their opponents by double digits for the third and fourth consecutive game.
The women's soccer program continues to jell in its second season under McGuire, leaving the rest of the Pac-10 in jeopardy. And if the answer is, She deserves a Bear's share of credit for this season's success, the question must be, Who is Lisa Kevorkian?