Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Steve Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
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).
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