Kynett, Boise State looking for MWC title in 2019
RENO — Boise State women’s soccer standout and Douglas High School alumna McKenna Kynett has been making an impact on the soccer field since she first stepped foot on one.
Now in her senior season with the Broncos, Kynett is looking to help lead Boise State to the program’s first Mountain West Conference tournament title in school history.
Kynett and head coach Jim Thomas have been a part of a string of successes over the last two seasons and in doing so accomplished something no other Boise State soccer team has done in program history.
Last season the Broncos took the regular season crown and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
The top spot last year means Boise State hosts this years’ Mountain West Conference tournament – neither of which has happened before for the Broncos.
In both 2017 and 2018, Boise State posted a program-high 13 wins in the regular season.
This year, Kynett realizes there is something much bigger on the line.
“Last year was definitely a good year, but it ended kind of bittersweet because we had to share the title. This year I think we’re a lot hungrier to win,” said Kynett. “I think we know that we can’t let last year’s mistakes happen again. So we’re doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
So far Boise State has only had one blemish, which came as a double overtime loss to Utah in early September, but after a weekend series in Kynett’s home state, the Broncos sit at 10-1 on the year.
The rigors of being a collegiate student-athlete has been no exception to Kynett over her four years.
Kynett says she spends 10 months out of the year training and living in Boise.
However, this past Friday the senior midfielder got a chance to play in front of a host of family when Boise State took on University of Nevada.
Kynett admitted that being away from family, especially in her first year at Boise State, was tough, but she wasn’t able to completely escape alone.
McKenna’s brother, Cale, also joined her at Boise State and serves as a family cheering section when in Boise.
“I did not follow him. That was just a coincidence,” laughed Kynett. “At first I wasn’t too excited about it because I didn’t want to be following my brother to school, but I’m really happy he’s there.”
Friday Kynett’s friends and family were so excited to see her play, they couldn’t all go through their hometown hero to get into the contest.
“I saved 25 tickets, but there were some that I couldn’t save because I ran out of tickets,” Kynett said.
Though she was held off the scoresheet in front of her hometown crowd in Reno, Kynett dished out two assists in the Broncos’ 2-0 win over UNLV on Sunday in Las Vegas.
The trip home also gave her head coach a chance to reflect on the athlete he recruited in 2016 and how she’s grown into one of the program’s best players.
“She’s built the best relationship in the history in Boise state soccer. How she’s grown as an athlete is a testament to where she comes from, how she was raised,” said Thomas.
The seventh-year Bronco head coach noted that Kynett’s path to Division I soccer is atypical in today’s climate.
Shining through the high school ranks has become secondary in soccer as players nowadays tend to find their college looks through national leagues or prestigious development academies.
What was once an unknown has turned into one of the biggest reasons why the Boise State program is reaching new heights.
“She had ground out her own path in a very small market and whenever you have an athlete like that, wherever you see them, you’re always concerned whether what looks great there will actually translate,” Thomas said. “Ironically, it’s gone full circle. … I didn’t see the creativity in facilitating other players that we see in her now so I think she’s far exceeded any kind of potential that I was hoping for.”
Kynett sets state records in high school with 111 career goals and posted single-season career highs her junior year with 38 goals and 22 assists.
She was named the Sierra League offensive player of the year in 2013 and ‘14 before earning midfielder of the year recognition in her senior season.
Over the three-plus years at Boise, Kynett has tallied 16 goals and nine assists and was named as a first-team all-Mountain West honoree last season as a junior.
One final goal
After finishing last year with the second most goals in the MWC (7) — only behind her teammate Raimee Sherlee, who had 20 — Kynett ended Friday’s contest with two shots on goal, but Boise State picked up another win.
Two years ago the Minden native scored twice in Reno, but her days of being concerned about who gets a goal are behind her.
As Boise State rolls into the second half of its regular season, her focus is entirely on continuing to make program history.
“One goal I have is to win the tournament this year,” said Kynett. “That’s one thing I would really love to accomplish.”
Kynett is majoring in communications at Boise State and post-grad plans are a worry for the future with the season ramping up in intensity.
Kynett and Thomas have taken plenty of pride in a program-best finish from a season ago, but the title was shared with their next opponent, San Jose State.
Ties won’t be good enough for the two this year.
“I think it’s important to let people know we are here to win a championship and we’re not going to tie like last year. I think people underestimate us,” Kynett said.