Leaving a Stamp on History

Sebastian Lena

Growing up, UMass Boston senior Kristi Morales was surrounded by soccer. Everyone played it, so it didn’t take long for her to give it a go.

“It was the thing to do in my hometown,” she said. “When I was five my mother signed me up for our recreational league. Now, the rest is history.”

More like historical. Over her career, Morales has played a large role in helping the Beacons go from Little East Conference cellar dwellers to one of the conference’s elite.

From the first time Morales stepped onto the field, head coach Amy Zombeck knew she had a special player.

“My first impression was that she can make us better,” Zombeck said. “I knew she could help make a difference to our program.”

And that’s exactly what Morales did.

Over her career she’s helped the Beacons go from a 3-14-1 doormat in her freshman season to 14-5-1 contenderthis season with a shot at a title. She also helped the Beacons record their first ever appearance in the conference tournament among countless other records and school firsts.

“The accomplishments mean a lot to me,” Morales said. “It took a team effort to do it, but I helped turn this program around and I’m very proud to say that.”

She’s had an individual career to be proud of too. The Beacons leader in career matches played, Morales enjoyed a career year last season when she netted 8 goals along with 4 assists. Her current career total of 33 points has her ranked third in school history.

“Each year she’s made a difference,” Zombeck said. “Whether it’s scoring goals or motivating the team, she’s always been an impact player for us.”

For proof, one has to look no further than the Beacons conference tournament opener against UMass Dartmouth last week.

After 60 minutes of play, the Beacons found themselves in a scoreless tie. Three minutes later, Morales helped change that by netting her fifth goal of the season. Only minutes later, she followed that up by making a critical block on a golden opportunity to score for the Corsairs. Her efforts proved to be the catalyst for the Beacons 4-0 victory.

Zombeck certainly appreciated the effort from her senior captain.

“Her biggest influence is her self motivation, determination, and winning attitude, she said. “She has given 100% whether she is injured or healthy. She has made me better as a coach with the attitude she has brought to this program.”

Morales, however, isn’t one to bask in her own glory.

“It’s all my teammates,” she admitted. “I love all of them. We push each other to do better. I work hard for the girls who have graduated and for the girls to come so we can all say we played for a great program.”

With that attitude, it wouldn’t be too hard to guess what Morales will miss the most about her playing days.

“Definitely all the girls,” she said. “We have got through everything together this year and it’s going to be really hard not to see them everyday.”

Zombeck can only hope Morales’ passion was contagious.

“We’ll miss her uncanny ability to smile, her work ethic, and her attitude to get the job done,” she said. “Hopefully she has passed those qualities onto one of the younger players.”

After a dominating first round victory, the Beacons fell to Eastern Connecticut 4-0 in the semi-finals. It marked the end to a groundbreaking season for Morales and the rest of the Beacons.

And although her playing days are over, Morales isn’t walking away empty handed.

“I’ve learned that if you believe in it, anything is possible,” she said. “All it takes is heart and dedication. With that you can accomplish anything you set your mind too.”

That positive attitude played a large role in leading Morales to a successful career on the soccer field. Here’s betting it’ll lead her to a successful career off the field as well.