Key outside forward tears ACL

December 9, 2019 — by Anjali Nuggehalli and Kavita Sundaram

 With tryouts complete on Nov. 29, the girls’ soccer team is looking forward to an exciting and eventful season. 

The team faced a daunting challenge this year, with the loss of two of their key center backs, alumna Sasha Pickard as well as junior Michelle Lim, who now plays for an outside team that doesn’t allow her to play high school soccer. 

However, the abundance of new, experienced players trying out compensated for the loss of these two key players. The team had 40 girls try out, and gained three key additions: freshman Gabi Golko, freshman Aleks Verga and freshman Jalyn Harrigan. 

Along with this, returning players sophomore Lauren Yarrington, senior Ananya Krishnan, and senior Adrian Chen play important roles in the team and help the girls collectively be more successful. With new key additions and returning players, coach Ben Maxwell hopes for a favorable season. 

However, the team was once more faced with a challenge when junior outside forward Leila Chaudry tore her ACL and meniscus during a practice, sidelining her for the season. 

“I went to go poke the ball, but I planted my foot weirdly,” Chaudhry said. “I felt my whole right knee crack and couldn’t move at all.”

After getting an MRI, doctors told Chaudry that she tore her entire ACL. A week after the diagnosis, Chaudhry had into reconstructive surgery. 

“I felt more excited than nervous going into surgery,” Chaudhry said. “My surgeon’s done a lot of surgeries on my teammates so he’s really highly regarded. I just want to be independent again.”

Chaudhry will be on crutches for three weeks after her surgery, which happened on Dec. 5, and she will have to wait six more weeks before being able to drive or play any sort of non-contact soccer. Meanwhile, she is vigilant with her physical therapy, knowing that it will quicken her recovery.

“I’m doing a lot of quad strengthening exercises because you’re supposed to lose 90 percent of your entire leg muscle after surgery,” Chaudhry said. “I’m just trying to get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Despite her injury, Chaudhry continues to support both her club and high school teammates. Although Chaudhry admits that it’s hard to see her team play without her, she refuses to let her injury drag her down. 

“I’ve accepted that it is what it is, and I have to keep moving forward,” Chaudhry said. “I’m learning to appreciate my family and friends, as well as all the opportunities I’ve been given to recover.”   

Meanwhile, the girls varsity soccer team is focusing on improving their defense and building off last year’s winning season.

“I think we can make CCS again if we fix our defense because we still have really good offense and an amazing goalie,” senior outside forward Neda Riaziat said.

Along with this, the team built great connections from last year, which will assist them in getting a head start for the season.  

“Last year, soccer helped me build connections with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known, and I think that really helped our team work better together,” sophomore center mid Lauren Yarrington said.

The team will have its first game on Jan. 8. Until then, they are continuing to work on defense and on developing their style of playing, along with competing in pre-season games. 

On Dec. 8, the team had its first preseason game against Burlingame high school, losing 1-0. The team played Christopher on Dec. 11, Scotts Valley on Dec. 13, and will play Prospect  on Dec. 15. 

With the league season coming up in January, the team hopes to be competitive.

“We’re always swimming against the current because we don’t have as many players here as other schools have,” said Maxwell. “We’re playing some really strong schools in the top division, but if we manage to finish around the middle of the pack we’ll have a great year.”