After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee prior to her freshman season, and again before her sophomore campaign, Cassidy Boegel should probably have taken up chess.
Luckily for Lincoln-Sudbury, she endured two years of grueling rehab and is back on the field, making up for lost time.
Boegel, a senior striker, has the Warriors are off to a 6-0 start, and has registered at least one point in every game.
She’s third in the Dual County League in scoring with seven goals and four assists, trailing only Concord-Carlisle All-American Andrea O’Brien (13 goals, four assists) and Westford Academy’s Lauren Steele (10 goals, three assists).
Boegel’s 11 points already match her total from last season (eight goals, three assists).
“Every time I try to take [Boegel] out of a game, it’s a battle,” said coach Kate Berry, whose in her third season. “That’s a confrontation we have at least once, if not several, times each game. It’s never that she’s upset with me for taking her out. She’s just frustrated when she’s not able to contribute as much as she’d like. She just loves being out there so much. We’re both learning that it’s a balancing act between trying to do what’s right for her not just today, but for her future.”
Boegel, who has committed to play at Fairfield University next year, has a style that’s fun to watch. She’s big and physical, but deceptively quick and mesmerizing with the ball on her feet.
“She’s a truly dynamic striker,” said Berry. “She has one of the hardest shots I’ve ever seen. She plays all-out all the time, but with such incredible control over her body. I don’t think she even knows how to tone [her intensity] down. She puts so much of herself into the game and will always play through any kind of nagging injuries.”
Berry recalled an episode at practice that personified Boegel’s desire to stay on the field.
“I watched her literally crawl off the field one day after practice last season,” Berry said. “I went over to her and asked what was wrong and she said that her shins where killing her so much that she couldn’t walk. But that’s the kind of player she is. She hates to sit out. If any part of her can play, she’ll play.”
However, with Boegel’s all-out style and her injury history come some scary moments. Like last season, when the Warriors were playing Concord-Carlisle and Boegel went down clutching her knee.
“Any time something happens with her, we all get nervous,” said Berry, “especially considering her history and what she’s had to go through. But she went to the doctor and everything checked out OK, and she was back out there on the field the very next week.”
Two years removed from her second ACL tear, Boegel has emerged as one of the Warriors’ greatest scoring threats, as well as one of their best facilitators.
The play by Boegel this season that stands out most to Berry isn’t even a goal, it’s an assist she had against Newton South.
“It was just an incredible individual effort on her part,” said Berry. “Cassidy carried the ball into the box, single-handedly beating several defenders, and crossed it to one of our players for the wide-open goal. We don’t score there if it weren’t for her. Cassidy made that happen.”
If the Warriors want to remain perfect on the season, they’ll have to go through a formidable Acton-Boxboro team Tuesday. The Colonials (4-3) are third in the DCL behind Lincoln-Sudbury and Westford Academy (5-1).
“You always say that your next game is your biggest, but that’s especially true this week,” said Berry. “We have high expectations for ourselves this season, but we haven’t proved anything yet. We just need to stay healthy and try to be playing our best come tournament time.”
Games of the Week
No. 8 Westford Academy at Chelmsford, Tue., 4 p.m. — The Lions are 4-3-1 out of the gate. Their matchup with the Grey Ghosts (5-1-0) at home is a chance to make a statement. All three of Chelmsford’s losses have come against quality opponents (Andover, Central Catholic, and Haverhill).
No. 4 Central Catholic at No. 18 North Andover, Thu., 4 p.m. — The Raiders (8-0) have a chance to go 2-0 this season against teams from Andover — never an easy task. The Knights (5-2-1) have surrendered only three goals this season.
Oliver Ames at No. 5 Franklin, Fri., 3:30 p.m. — The Panthers (6-0) have looked dominant, toppling then-No. 2 Canton, 5-2, last month behind four goals from Kristi Kirshe (11 on the season). Britt Sellmayer and his Tigers (4-2) will have their hands full in this Hockomock showdown.
Acton-Boxboro at No. 1 Peabody, Fri., 6 p.m. — No one expects the top-ranked Tanners (5-0), led by Hayley Dowd (who’s been slowed by a hamstring injury), to lose. But the Colonials (4-3) aren’t going to be a cakewalk. A win would give the Tanners 31 straight victories.
No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury at No. 11 Andover, Sun., 7 p.m. — Don’t be surprised if you see this matchup of Warriors again late in the Division 1 North tournament. L-S (6-0) hasn’t allowed a goal in three games, while Andover (6-2-1) has only allowed three.Seth Lakso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @sethlakso