“For any average kid, it would have been very, very trying,” said Geysen. “I don’t know how she’s done it. To her, it’s just, ‘Another part of me. No big deal. I’m able to play and get here.’ She really plays it down quite a bit.”
This fall, Conley has appeared in five games for the Panthers, who were 15-0 after Tuesday’s 7-0 Hockomock League win over King Philip Regional.
She has not played a full game yet, not because she doesn’t think her body can handle it, but because she thinks, in her current shape, there are better girls playing her position, outside fullback.
“Of course she said that,” said Kirshe, a skilled forward who is in an elite class of Eastern Massachusetts players this year with at least 30 goals. “That’s how she is. The best description for Grace is she’s a solid player. No one will go through her. She marks me in practice and I can’t get by her.”
In Tuesday’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, Franklin was 14th, the highest rating of any girls’ team in the state.
And with just two seniors in starting roles, and six freshmen and nine sophomores on the roster, the young youthful Panthers are hoping for some postseason magic.
Before leaving Tuesday’s game, Geysen reminded them of Wednesday’s practice time and started to walk away.
“Oh wait,” Conley said, jumping off the bench. “I have a doctor’s appointment, so I might not be there.”
“What else is new?” Geysen joked. “I know. You’re fine.”
Conley doesn’t no longer takes one day for granted.
And now, neither do the Panthers.
Jason Mastrodonato can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.