EXETER — Maddie Mulkigian brought an uncommon drive and desire to improve her game to the Exeter High School girls soccer team this past fall.

Now, she’s one of the latest Blue Hawks to earn a scholarship letter from a Division 1 college.

Mulkigian is headed for the Bronx, where she’ll play women’s soccer for Manhattan College of the New York-based MAAC.

“I’ve always been kind of drawn to the city,” the Exeter senior said. “I think I kind of got that from my mom, because she grew up right outside of New York City and she used to take me there all the time when I was younger.”

Mulkigian played for the club FC Stars of Massachusetts along with Exeter teammate and fellow D-1 commit Hayley Long (The Citadel) last season. This year, she was a key midfielder for a Blue Hawks team that went 13-1-1 in the regular season.

“I think her drive is to be commended,” Exeter coach Megan Young said. “She’s definitely a student of the game, always self-evaluating, not ever satisfied, always looking for ways to improve. I think her greatest strength, which she brought to us, is her ability to strike the ball. Her outside shot, her accuracy on set pieces no matter where she was playing was a huge advantage for us and I think will be at the next level as well.”

Mulkigian wrote in a recruiting profile online that she has been motivated throughout her soccer career by being told “no” many times. Her father, Gary, helped capture her drive during last month’s signing ceremony inside the EHS auditorium.

“She wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning; we drive to Hampton Beach and she’s running sprints from Coach Young’s packet on the beach on the hard sand all summer,” Gary said. “That was this year. I just watched her the last several years just continue to work harder and harder, and I know that next summer she’ll probably be taking that same packet to the beach to get ready for Manhattan. She’s got a drive and determination that I’ve never seen in many people.”

The connection with Manhattan materialized from a tournament Mulkigian played in down in North Carolina.

“I looked online about their program and got really excited,” she said. “I sent them an email for them to come watch me, and they did. Since then, beginning of sophomore year, I’ve always loved the school and I knew when I first went on the campus that I just wanted to be there. I loved the energy and I could just tell from the team that they were all so close and they just wanted to succeed together."

Manhattan battled some key injuries last year and finished with a 3-8-4 record (2-5-3 in MAAC play). Mulkigian said she’ll be joining a veteran squad next fall that will be looking to contend in the conference tournament. The Jaspers play opponents like Quinnipiac, Canisius, Iona, Marist and Siena.

Mulkigian plans to study communications with a goal to pursue sports journalism and broadcasting.

“I always tried to work really hard and improve every single day,” she said. “I think that throughout high school Coach Young has helped me a lot on what I have needed to work on and different ways that I can improve. So I think high school was just a great part of my soccer journey, getting me to this point and getting me to where I need to go.”