Seventeen minutes into the third game of last season—a wet September match against Clark University—midfielder and team captain Liz Somma, BEET ’13, stuck out her left foot to block a shot, meeting the ball just as it was kicked. The impact sent her foot flying one way and her knee another. There was an audible, ominous pop.
A few hospital visits later, Somma got the bad news: she had suffered tears to both her ACL and the meniscus of her knee. Her junior season was over. “It is so hard to sit on the bench and watch because you really want to help your team out,” says Somma. “It’s the worst—just the worst feeling ever.” And yet, there she was, back on the sidelines on crutches as soon as possible, cheering on teammates, shouting encouragement. “She has a great way about her,” says Angel Ayres, athletic director and head women’s soccer coach. “She can really push her teammates.”
With surgery and rehab behind her, Somma has great expectations for the coming season. It is her senior year and she wants to be sure the team improves on its 4-14 2011 campaign and makes the playoffs. And personally, she hopes to return to her pre-injury form. “I was confident going into last season—and in great shape,” she says. “I want to get back to that point.”—DAN MORRELL
HOW TO / TAKE A PENALTY KICK
GET A ROUTINE
“You need to do the same thing every time,” says Somma. She compares her approach to that of a field goal kicker: five steps back, two to the left. Then step up and fire.
PICK A CORNER AND PASS IT
Somma prefers a nice, hard pass to a corner that stays low to the ground— ensuring the goalie can’t get there in time.
We don’t want to give away Somma’s particular method, but let’s just say that the goalie is looking to the kicker for potential clues on which way the ball might be directed—so throwing in a few bits of misdirection can help get the ball in the back of the net.