GENOA – Every day Ashley Grimm was there.
She didn’t have to be, but for games, practices and even team dinners last spring, Grimm didn’t miss the chance to be with her Genoa-Kingston soccer teammates.
It was one of the toughest times of her athletic career as Grimm had torn her ACL in an indoor soccer game last winter, keeping her on the sideline for the entirety of her sophomore high school season. It was the first time she was forced to miss a significant amount of games, yet Grimm still wanted to be a full member of the team.
“It was hard to watch. I wish I could’ve been out there to help my team out,” Grimm said. “But stuff happens. I learned a lot from sitting on the bench and watching how they work together.”
Grimm could only observe as G-K put together a positive second-half run that propelled the Cogs into the regional final against Indian Creek. There, G-K lost in overtime to a strong Timberwolves team that was stout defensively.
“I think part of it was that we were still kind of learning about each other in the beginning of the year,” junior midfielder Nicole Hebel said. “The second half we knew our runs and we really started working together.”
Grimm said she did a lot of scouting while sitting on the bench last season, watching her own teammates as well as the Cogs’ opponents.
She went to rehab twice a week, working to get her knee back to strength so she could play in 2014. Now she’s back to practicing and if Grimm can regain the form that made her an all-conference selection as a freshman, it should give a big boost to G-K.
Coach Randy Tate said her ability to control the midfield might give him the option to move Hebel up to forward, helping to replace some of the scoring lost by the graduation of Shannon Schumacher.
“She’s definitely very aggressive and has good ball control. She’s more experienced, mainly handles the ball, knows how to distribute, has good vision,” Tate said. “She’s a solid base for that center.”
While she’s been able to practice with the team through the early part of spring, Grimm says she continues to gain confidence in her knee with time. More practices outside on the grass rather than in the gym should expedite the process.
More than anything, Grimm is just anxious to play.
“I think I’m close to 100 percent now. I feel more confident in the moves I do now,” Grimm said. “I’m not as hesitant now in going for the ball, taking it away or being not aggressive enough.”