One significant knee injury might cause a college athlete to rethink her desire to play a sport.
A second injury to the same knee, wiping out a good chunk of a second season?
Would that be pause for thought?
“No, it never even crossed my mind,” Karyn Barrett said. “I just love the sport. I love the competitive aspect of it and I actually think it helps balance my academic and social life better. It makes me prioritize and to be more disciplined.”
The former standout at Cape Elizabeth High is a junior midfielder for the Trinity College women’s soccer team. After tearing her ACL as a high school senior in lacrosse, then re-injuring it during her sophomore year, she is finally flashing the talent that made her a four-year starter and All-State senior at Cape.
“Certainly having her back on the field is playing an integral part to our success so far,” Trinity Coach Mike Smith said.
The Bantams won their first eight games this season, rising to No. 1 in the NCAA Division III regional rankings (13th nationally) before last Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to NESCAC rival Bowdoin.
“It was awesome,” Barrett said of the quick start that included five NESCAC wins. “Everyone is so supportive of each other so it helps us be successful. It pushes everyone in practice to keep working harder.
“We have a motto this year of ‘Prove It.’ Our goal is to prove we’re one of the top teams in the league.”
Smith said Barrett is a long-range scoring threat who can shoot “with tremendous pace,” and is a tenacious defender.
Most of all she infuses the Bantams with plenty of the strong-willed determination she showed while recovering from her knee injuries.
“She’s worked so hard to get back to where she is now. It’s been a remarkable journey for her and for me to witness,” Smith said. “She’s been playing very, very well. She’s one of the leaders on the field.”
Barrett’s personal turnaround has coincided with a team turnaround. The Bantams were 5-7-2 and 5-8-1 her first two seasons in Hartford.
Trinity, now 8-1, has never won more than 11 games in a season, never won a NESCAC title (or even been a runner-up) and never been to the NCAA tournament.
“My first two years here we failed to even qualify for the NESCAC league championship,” Barrett said. “This year we kind of have a chip on our shoulders and we want to show we’re better than that.”
Beating Williams 2-0 early on opened some eyes. Williams has won five of the past six league titles, including in 2012.
Barrett, 20, did appear in four games as a freshman but was still limited by her injury.
As a sophomore she started and scored in the season opener at Hamilton.
“That was the first time I had really stepped on the field in college and been injury-free,” Barrett said. “Scoring in that game gave me the confidence that I can do this.”
Barrett has also proven she can compete academically. She has received awards for excellence in chemistry, economics and calculus, while focusing on pre-medical school math and science courses.
In Trinity’s loss to Bowdoin, the Polar Bears’ first goal was scored by sophomore Kiersten Turner of Gorham. Turner earned NESCAC Player of the Week honors. Turner has seven goals, including four game-winners for Bowdoin (7-1-1).
• Southern Maine Community College sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Proctor of Saco was named the Yankee Small College Conference Women’s Soccer Player of the Week and the USCAA Goalkeeper of the Week for making 14 combined saves in a 0-0 tie against nationally ranked New Hampshire Technical Institute and a 1-0 loss to University of Maine- Presque Isle.
• Thomas College senior goalie Kate Thibodeau of Woolwich (Morse) has started all 12 games this season for the Terriers (3-9), recording a .789 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average with one shutout. She is averaging over eight saves a game and had 18 saves in a recent 3-0 loss to Colby-Sawyer College.
• Lasell College freshman midfielder Erin Smith of Gorham was recently named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week after notching a goal and an assist in a 6-0 win against Anna Maria College. Smith has started seven of the 10 games for Lasell (7-2-1), and has two goals and an assist.
Wheaton College sophomore goalie Jackson Towle of South Berwick (Marshwood) has appeared in three games this season, most recently in a relief effort in a 4-0 loss to Trinity.
MIT first-year Jane Coffrin of Cape Elizabeth had a pair of assists in the Engineers’ 4-1 win against Wheaton College. Emily Chick of Bangor, Wheaton’s senior captain, scored the lone goal for the Lyons. MIT is ranked 18th in the national D-III poll.
William Smith senior Katie Paige of Brunswick (North Yarmouth Academy) was part of the varsity eight crew that won its third consecutive gold medal at the Head of the Genesee Regatta in Rochester, N.Y., and earned Liberty League women’s boat of the week honors.
St. Joseph’s College freshman Michael Caron of Gorham has twice been named the GNAC Rookie of the Week and recently finished runner-up in the two-day University of Southern Maine Fall Classic at Gorham Country Club. At the USM event, Smith had a 70-74-144 2-over total and tied for low score with UMass-Dartmouth golfer Brendan Kelleher. A match of cards awarded Kelleher medalist honors.
SMCC HALL OF FAME
Kelly Maloney (women’s soccer 2007) and Mike Brown (men’s basketball 2001) are the 2013 Southern Maine Community College Athletics Hall of Fame class.
Maloney is SMCC’s all-time goals leader and a former USCAA All-American. Brown was a Maine Small College all-star and academic all-conference selection before playing two seasons at Green Mountain College.
The banquet will be Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. at the Ortiz Atrium on the South Portland campus. Contact SMCC Athletics at 741-5927 or mrichards@smccME.edu for more information.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: