Soccer injuries run high at start of year

This story first appeared in the September 2018 edition of The Hilltop.

It happened in the first game of the Warriors women’s soccer 2018-19 pre-season. Annouscka Kordom’s foot got caught while she was running, causing her knee to hyperextend backwards, completely tearing her ACL. The injury will require reconstructive surgery.

That means “about 6 to 9 months recovery after surgery to be able to play competitively again,” Kordom said.

“We lost our leading goal-scorer,” Head Coach Likius Hafeni said, who added that Kordom had scored six of their game-winning goals last season.

Kordom is one of many. The women’s soccer team has experienced an unprecedented eleven injuries in their pre-season. The injury rate is far above the three or four expected to occur by this point. The women’s soccer team has 32 players, meaning a third of them have been injured already, with several of those still unable to play. Some have had minor injuries in practice, but the biggest ones have occurred in games. Nadine Correa, a senior at Corban and power midfielder, suffered a knee injury in the fifth game of the pre-season against Humboldt State University when a player from the other team slid into her. The surgery necessary to repair the damage will sideline her for the rest of the season.

It’s “gonna be a big blow not to have those players,” Hafeni said, noting that he had lost some of his most mature, impactful players. In addition to the loss of Kordom and Correa, the Warriors have to do without the skills of Heidi Fronk, who suffered a concussion playing for a summer team. All three were starters for the team.

On a more positive note, Hafeni said the injuries “really give other players the opportunity to rise.” In particular Hannah Shore, Rylee McDonald and Jade Venegas have taken their game to a new level. Venegas is a freshman this year, making her performance even more exciting for the team.

“It’s just good to see,” Hafeni said.

The injured players whose seasons have been destroyed have their own piece of good news; they will all be coming back to play next year.

“We’re all like, ‘okay God, what are you doing?’” Correa said, a senior this year who plans to return next year to play again and finish an MBA.

“It’s difficult to say why we have so many injuries,” Hafeni said.

In his two years as head coach, Hafeni has focused on preparing players for the stresses of a competitive soccer season. That practice was the same this year. The team’s strategy has been to ease players into fitness, starting before the pre-season with the distribution of a fitness package. The package gives players an opportunity to get in shape before practice starts.

“We didn’t really push them too hard,” Hafeni said. “We’ve tried not to do it in the last two years.”

The soccer staff will be doing research after the season to determine whether there is a reason so many injuries occurred. In the meantime, the team has been playing well, with a four-game winning streak in the first half of September.

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