Injuries, no matter when they happen, have an effect on a team and Andover girls’ soccer is no different.
Looking at her bench during a 3-0 loss at Park Center Sept. 26, Huskies coach Lori Snider realized that seven of the players were injured, leaving her with few options to shake up the roster.
“Just when we thought we had one center back ready to go, [Lexi Novak] she goes down with an ACL injury,” Snider said. The next player to take a turn at center back went down with another injury followed by center forward and leading scorer, Maddie Griess (nine goals), who was injured two days earlier in a 2-2 game against Northwest Suburban Conference foe Maple Grove.
“And now our holding mid[fielder] Karli Gehrig goes down,” Snider said. “It’s just the story of our season.”
The defensive injuries opened up a spot in the starting line up for sophomore Megan Brooke. Despite never playing the center back position before, Brooke embraced the chance and has taken off with it. She’s played nearly every minute of the season with the exception of the second half of a 4-3 loss to Coon Rapids Sept. 7 after being kicked in the head.
Snider gave her the chance because of Brooke’s willingness to mix it up, she said. “She’s that fearless center back we need who is willing to go up and win the ball,” Snider said.
On another positive note, Andover has always had one player the team revolves around and this season that has been senior center midfielder Raquel Thelen. Not only does she lead the team with 24 points but she has 14 of the team’s 18 assists. “There has been very few goals that she hasn’t been involved in,” Snider said. “She’s been that good. She takes our corner kicks and in the position we put her in – she gets the distribution [to set up goals].”
With the injuries, the idea of Thelen distributing the scoring chances hasn’t worked as well as it would have with a fully-healthy squad.
Andover recently started seven or eight underclassmen “and we’re going to be that kind of team where if you make those mistakes we can score goals,” Snider said. “It’s just keeping the other team from coming right back that has been our challenge.”
The Huskies are settled mid-pack in the Northwest Suburban Conference standings at 3-3-1, tied at 10 points with rival Anoka and three points behind fourth-place Elk River.
Andover improved to 5-7-1 overall and won for the third time in five games with a 4-3 victory at Cretin-Derham Hall Sept. 28.
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