Girls Soccer: ACL injuries fail to stop Westerville Central's Lauryn White
As she stepped onto the field for the Westerville Central girls soccer team’s opener Aug. 21 against visiting Big Walnut, senior Lauryn White felt a sense of pride – and a sense of relief.
White, a midfielder, was returning to game action for the first time since her sophomore season after undergoing a pair of surgeries to her left knee.
“It was the hand I was dealt,” she said. “I came back stronger than ever and now I’m scoring goals and playing and it’s been good. … When the announcer called my name (before the opener), it was really a surreal moment to be back out on the field.”
White suffered the first injury as a sophomore, tearing the ACL and meniscus in her left knee during a j.v. basketball game game at Groveport in November 2018.
She underwent surgery Dec. 26 that year with the goal of returning for her junior season in soccer.
After six months of conditioning and physical therapy, White was cleared to return in June 2019 and appeared on the verge of reaching her goal when she injured the same ACL during the first soccer practice a year ago.
“I went into contact and five minutes in, one of my teammates ran into me and it cracked again,” White said.
She had surgery for the second time and began the same recovery process leading up to returning to the lineup against Big Walnut.
“She worked so hard to come back the first time,” coach Bobby Weimer said. “She did everything she was supposed to do and to have it happen like that is so disappointing for everyone, which is why I’m so happy she gets a chance to play this year after all she’s been through.”
White had two goals through 10 games and also has provided the Warhawks with leadership, according to Weimer.
After beginning the season 3-2-1, the Warhawks looked to end a five-game winless streak Sept. 29 against Westerville South. Central entered the game 3-6-1 overall and is 0-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
Without White, the Warhawks finished 6-11-1 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye last season.
“She’s a great kid,” Weimer said. “Obviously, it affected our depth. She’s such a technical player, she’s a really good distributor of the ball and she’s really composed on the ball, so it definitely affected some of the things we can do, not having her available last year.”
White said it was important that she remain part of the team even though she wasn’t able to play.
“I love this team,” she said. “Even though I couldn’t play on the field, I wanted to be at all their games and give out support, and if I can help here and there with tactics, I’ll do that.”
White is unsure if she will play in college, likely opting to compete at the club or intramural level. She has a 3.96 GPA and plans to study computer science.
“She’s a really solid kid, she understands what she needs to do to be successful,” Weimer said. “She has a strong presence about her. She’s very mature. She does everything right on and off the field. She’s an excellent student in the classroom, and she’s a great role model for our younger players.”