The Washington women’s soccer team has allowed more than one goal in only three games this season, and its depth on the backline has been a big reason for the defensive success.
Shae Holmes was not available for the Huskies at the beginning of the season, but has contributed minutes in each of the UW’s last six games.
She missed the majority of last season with her first ACL tear. In her first game for the Huskies after coming back from her injury, she tore her ACL again for the second time. It was just two minutes into her time on the field.
“Mentally, my motto is positive vibes only, and honestly my team was a huge part of it,” Holmes said. “And just coming into the season, it was just like positive, and whatever happens, happens, and just a ton of motivation built up from not playing over like 22 months.”
Missing a lot of time can be frustrating for many players, but the redshirt freshman found it to be a blessing in disguise of sorts.
“I had more time to integrate, watch the team, how they played and just kind of get the feel for things,” Holmes said. “And I really just felt like coming in this year I feel a lot more prepared just having a year to have to sit out and watch that.”
Last year, the Huskies essentially had just four defenders after Jessica Udovich and Holmes went down with ACL injuries. They retained all four starters from last year, then got those two back and even added a freshman contributor in Helena Reischling. This allows head coach Lesle Gallimore to rotate seven defenders throughout the game.
“Now for this part of the season, when it’s really crunch time, she’s just gotta be ready for her moments, whether they’re starting moments, 40 minutes in a game, 60 minutes in a game,” Gallimore said. “Whatever her time is, and if that’s starting or coming off the bench, she’s just gotta be ready to lift her game.”
Fellow defender Udovich knows the struggle that Holmes went through; she has torn her ACL not two, but three times in her collegiate career. The most recent time was less than a month before Holmes’ injury, so the two had similar timelines for recovery.
“We both were kind of in it together, we kind of bounced off each other, she was there for me, I was there for her,” Holmes said. “And her being on her third time, it definitely was [just taking] it day-by-day, step-by-step, rehab, exercise.”
Holmes and the rest of the Huskies have a pair of home matchups this weekend. First, they’ll take on Arizona State on Thursday at 7 p.m. then host No. 25 Arizona on Sunday at noon.
Reach reporter Josh Eddy at email@example.com. Twitter: @JoshTreEddy
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