Bum knee doesn’t stop Patriot’s pursuit to play

 

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Heritage Hills’ Olivia Morris, left, chased the ball with pursuit from Aubrey Marks of Northeast Dubois during Thursday’s soccer match in Dubois. Morris and the rest of the Patriot defense orchestrated a shutout and Heritage Hills picked up goals from five players in a 6-0 win. For more photos, click here.

By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer

DUBOIS — Most players do not embrace time on the bench. Seniors even less so, but most senior athletes are not playing on one and a half knees.

Heritage Hills coach Doug Satterfield received some well-earned relief Thursday during his team’s 6-0 shutout of Northeast Dubois on a steamy night in Dubois. But it wasn’t the win that eased Satterfield’s mind as much being able to bench his vital but gimpy senior defenseman Olivia Morris, who has been hobbling along on a partially torn ACL in her left knee since April. Morris has elected to play the remainder of her senior season and forgo surgery that would have prematurely end her high school career.

“We’re taking her a game at a time,” Heritage Hills coach Doug Satterfield said. “We had two games and she’s still healthy. But that’s two more than I thought we we’re going to get.”
A starter, Morris played about 45 minutes of Thursday’s game. But early on, it seemed as if it would be even less.

After only 20 seconds of play, the game was suspended for a little more than 20 minutes after a referee spotted lightning in the area. As play resumed, the Patriots (2-0) wasted little time before sophomore Adrianna Oxley intercepted a pass  near the Northeast Dubois 18-yard-line, dribbled left past one Jeep defender and launched a low line drive left of goalie Katie Kluesner into the corner of the net.

Ten minutes later, another goal from junior Karaline Staggs ­— a slow-rolling ball just past Kluesner’s outstretched arms — was enough to convince Satterfield to rest Morris the remainder of the half.

Morris had no problem with the decision.

“We had our first game Tuesday night and it’s been swollen,” Morris said, “but Coach said ”˜I’d feel awful if you were to tear it again and hurt yourself more in these types of games.’”

Her departure had little effect on a Jeep team that played physical, but slowly faded after a relentless Patriot attack — combined with a few defensive dribbling and passing errors — resulted in early goals for Heritage Hills. Northeast Dubois coach Katie Layou, a Heritage Hills graduate, said she was “disappointed” with the team’s early effort and did point some of the blame to the rain delay, but conceded that the loss gave the girls some perspective on what they can expect from a Patriot team that will appear in their sectional this fall.

“They were a stronger team to play against. They’ll know what to expect when it comes to sectionals,” Layou said.

But as far as losing to her alma mater, it was a little extra sting.

“I know what to expect. I know the (Heritage Hills) girls. I coached alot of them when they were 12 and younger. I’ve been to games when they were in middle school,” Layou said. “They’re a good team, they’ve got their passing down and we couldn’t keep up.”

A bright spot for the Jeeps (0-2) was Kluesner, who recorded eight saves.

Other Patriot goals were via a sailing lob from senior Darby Vinson, an 18-yard strike into the left corner from sophomore Rebeka Mercker, a one-touch finish from sophomore Paige Priest off of Oxley’s assist and a final goal by Greer Neff.

“We really switched the ball around from right to left, switched fields a lot in the second half, which is what we talked about at halftime, to get our backs involved in starting to play,” Satterfield said.

Morris witnessed most of those goals from the sideline. She’s no stranger to sitting time out because of knee injuries. She missed the entire 2012 season after tearing the same ligament in the same knee. On Thursday though, she was to happy to get the break and watch her team carry on without missing a beat.

“It’s awesome that we have a full team waiting on the bench,” Morris said. “It’s a great feeling that they can come out and do the same job we did.”

Morris recognizes her pace of play is slower with the injury and her knee hidden in a large black brace, which says she is “not my favorite.” She’ll continue to play day to day for the rest of the season and hope for the best. Morris can at least be reassured that her game hasn’t decreased since the injury, even if she might say otherwise.

“Oh gosh no, that’s why she had two ACL (tears), seriously,” said Satterfield about his defender’s play. “She’s fearless and really attacks the ball. And when you’re like that, sometimes injuries come about.”

Contact Joseph Fanelli at jfanelli@dcherald.com.




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