Eventually, Genesis Munoz hopes her current avocation meshes with her future occupation, making saves.
Munoz, a Trinity Lutheran senior, is the goalie for the girls soccer team. After college at Indiana University and additional training, her goal is to save people as a doctor.
One mission at a time.
Munoz, who keeps hurling her body in front of the ball when other teams kick, has established a school record for saves during three-plus years in net, with 369 and counting during Trinity’s current, but on-going season.
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Her skills on display diving to her right, diving to her left, going to her knees — whatever it takes to block the ball from becoming a score — are really an adaptation of what Munoz does best in another sport.
Munoz is also the catcher for Trinity’s softball team and over her high school career she has blockaded her share of potential wild pitches and passed balls.
"Positioning," Munoz said of the key to stopping the two different sized round balls from doing her teams damage. "Getting to the right angle is a bit challenging."
Whatever the sport, soccer, hockey, field hockey or lacrosse, whenever a keeper is part of the lineup, she is the last line of defense. If the defense breaks down and the other team breaks through for a threatening shot, it falls on the goalie to stifle the opportunity.
Sometimes the keeper gets lonely because her team dominates and all of the action is on the other end. Other times the night can be quite hectic. Munoz has experienced both lately.
Last Saturday, in a 7-0 home Senior Day win over Austin when her parents, Orlando and Marilyn, joined her on the field pre-game, she only spent the game’s first 40 minutes as keeper, making just two saves. Tuesday night, in a 1-0 loss to Jennings County, Munoz stopped 11 of 12 shots.
The Cougars, 5-5, had a wide territorial advantage in the shutout of Austin and for long minutes Munoz, wearing a bright orange shirt with No. 0 on the back to set her role apart from the other fielders in their regular uniforms, had few responsibilities.
Whenever feasible, Munoz shouted instructions to the other Cougars, a goaltender’s prerogative due to owning the best view of the entire field.
"I try to help them," Munoz said of her chatter. "I tell them where we need them. I tell them where the ball is."
Asked if teammates think she is bossy, Munoz laughed and said, "Probably so. I hope in a good way."
Although the catcher in softball protects home plate from runners rather than a net from shooters, Munoz thinks the jobs have much in common.
"I always have a 100 percent clear view of the field," Munoz said.
Munoz was Trinity’s keeper as a freshman and a sophomore, and is again this season, but her goal-tending career was interrupted last year. She played four games in net.
Making a save, Munoz broke a finger on her left hand during the first half of a game. She stayed in, but had the digit examined at half-time and it was then the extent of the wound was realized.
Except for the keeper, soccer players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands. Munoz moved to the field full-time while her finger healed. She played, but not in her principal role.
Surprising her, in the Austin game, Munoz was subbed out of net, changed jerseys, put on home uniform No. 17, and became a center mid-fielder for the second half.
"It never happens," Munoz said of her playing a dual role in the same match. "We were ahead by enough."
Munoz made her share of passes and exhibited solid footwork dribbling when moving the ball up-field.
"She’s actually a very good field player," said coach Thom Hayes, who sometimes calls Munoz "G" for short.
"Genesis will be the first keeper in the Trinity girls program history to have played the position for four years," he said. "That said, her 300-plus (and counting) saves will set the bar high for future Trinity goal keepers."
Ashley Goecker did most of the goal-tending work last year in Munoz’s place and kept busy.
"Ashley did put up an impressive 220 saves in the 2019 season alone," Hayes said.
Munoz doesn’t know if she will compete in college, but it will most likely be softball. which she considers her best sport and where she has been a .500 hitter.
Still, in soccer, Munoz’s save percentage is much higher than that.