CEDAR RAPIDS — Adrenaline rushing as cleats are firmly planted into saturated grass is a feeling sophomore Paige Loney was told she would not experience anytime soon.
Last June, Loney discovered she had severely torn her ACL and meniscus. If she wanted to play the following soccer season, surgery was mandatory.
Loney participates in club soccer throughout the summer and fall months before picking up varsity soccer at Xavier in the spring. But this past summer she spent her free time recovering inside instead of training for the upcoming season.
No matter how many highlight reels, team dinners or victories, a team missing a key player is not complete.
“During the six weeks I wasn’t able to walk I was really down since I wasn’t getting to do the things I love to do,” Loney said. “The hardest part for me had to be that I couldn’t play soccer because soccer is such a big part in my life that not playing it was so hard.”
Loney’s teammate and friend Sarah Cunningham has been playing soccer for 11 years, six of which have been with Loney. She relates to the pain Loney felt because she, too, has had multiple injuries as a result of playing.
When Cunningham found out of Loney’s injury, two hearts broke.
“The hardest thing for me was seeing Paige not able to play the sport she loves,” Cunningham said. “She’s so passionate about soccer and this setback did affect her. Paige definitely has a positive mind-set, which has shown throughout her journey to recovery.”
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Cunningham said when someone like Loney is forced to sit out, it makes all the of other teammates appreciate the sport so much more and remember to never take their ability to play for granted.
Whether determination or positivity urged Loney to persevere through her setback, she anxiously awaits to make her return to the Xavier soccer field this spring.