BOISE – The Boise State women’s soccer team stops and signs autographs for all of its young fans after every home game.
There was one line just a little longer than the rest following a 3-1 win over Wyoming Thursday night at the Boas Soccer Complex.
Kenzie MacMillan recorded her second two-goal game of the season to become the Broncos’ (4-1-6, 2-0-1 Mountain West) active all-time career leader in goals (12) and points (32).
And it’s kind of come out of nowhere.
“She was a bit of a gamble, actually,” Boise State coach Jim Thomas said. “She’s not conventional. (She) does it differently, does it her own way and makes stuff up all the time. So there’s been a growing point for me on how to manage a player of her creativity to allow it to blossom. It’s taken me a little bit of time to figure it out, and thankfully we seem to be getting somewhere now.”
MacMillan had just 10 career starts before this season. But the junior forward made the most of them. She scored in her first-ever collegiate soccer game with a broken cleat no less in a 1-0 win over Utah on Aug. 22, 2021. It was one of the three goals MacMillan scored that freshman season to make the All-MW Newcomer Team.
She followed that up with a sophomore campaign that saw her still finish tied for second on the team in goals (4) on just eight starts.
“College soccer isn’t easy,” MacMillan said. “You definitely go through some hardships to find success. I just put my head down over the offseason and just told myself I need to step up and do what’s best for the team.”
Thomas noticed and made her a full-fledged starter this season. A decision that was quickly validated.
MacMillan scored three goals in the first two games of the season against North Dakota State and North Dakota to earn MW Offensive Player of the Week honors. She’s started every game since.
“I’m really proud of the kid. So many kids want to get into the portal after a year,” Thomas said. “They’re not willing to work for it. If they don’t get the instant gratification, they’re in your office every single day. She never ever did that. She just worked on her weaknesses, continued to compete and waited for the opportunity and took it. It’s a message to everyone out there really.”
MacMillan once again seized the moment Thursday with a goal in the 13th minute.
The assist came from fellow junior forward Carly Cross. The two have known each other since high school. They’re both from Orange County (CA.) and developed a friendship while competing with one another in club.
“One time we had a little FaceTime call and were like, ‘What if we go to college together,” said Cross who had a goal of her own in the 82nd minute. “I committed first and she just kind of followed the lead.”
They combined for 16 of the 22 shots and 10 of the 15 on goal for Boise State.
Cross and MacMillan are the Broncos’ top goal scorers this season with seven and five, respectively. Cross also leads the team in points (16), with MacMillan right behind at 14.
“We’re both just honestly so thankful,” Cross said. “To see how both of us are playing right now, is just really, really awesome.”
MacMillan is doing it while nursing a hip injury, as well. She suffered it during a practice this season after cutting just a bit too hard. It was wrapped for the entire first half.
However, it wasn’t there when MacMillan put herself into the record book.
She had a golden opportunity at becoming the active all-time points leader with a one-on-one against Wyoming (4-4-3) keeper Miyuki Schoyen in the 61st minute. But her shot sailed wide right.
Fate gave her a second chance, though.
MacMillan was almost immediately fouled after the heartbreaking miss to set up a free kick.
The Mission Viejo native drilled her shot around the Cowgirls’ wall and right into the far left corner of the net from the top of the 18-yard box. She turned around, fist pumped and yelled “boom” before the rest of her teammates mobbed her as the lights flickered on and off in celebration.
The emphatic goal allowed MacMillan to pass fifth-year senior Morgan Stone for the most career points among active players.
“It means a lot,” MacMillan said. “A lot of hard work has definitely paid off. But more importantly, this team needs to win championships and that’s what I’m doing it for. The successful goals and assists and everything else is just headed towards that championship. That’s all we want.”
It’s something that hasn’t happened since 2019.
But Boise State hasn’t lost in its last eight matches and is now tied with San Diego State atop the Mountain West standings.
The Broncos will host Colorado State at noon Sunday.