|Tracy Is Back in the Game|
|Wednesday, 18 April 2012 18:38|
BY CHUCK SLATER
There were 12 minutes and 26 seconds left to play on the recent Friday the 13th of April. In its most important early-season matchup, the Fox Lane girls’ lacrosse team trailed Yorktown by two goals – the same Yorktown that had defeated it in the Class B section championship game last season. Fox Lane captain Sammy Jo Tracy, coming back from a herniated disc in her lower back which cost her most of the pre-season, was scoreless, tired and hurting.
So all Tracy did was put in three goals in those closing minutes. Fox Lane 10, Yorktown 9. The first goal was a highlight-reel, behind-the-back shot.
“Physically, I’m not close (to top form),” Tracy said afterward. “I still have a lot of pain but a captain has to step up. And I’m getting better every day.”
Last season as a junior, Tracy finished with a staggering 71 goals plus 18 assists. She’s often confronted back woes – “It’s genetic; my father, who was an outstanding lacrosse player, had back problems,” she explained – then last summer in the Under Armor games to which she was invited, she pulled a hamstring over the July 4 weekend. The next month, in the All America Games, the hamstring tightened -- and so did the back. Prolonged rest, that dreaded phrase for the dedicated athlete, was prescribed.
“They told me the disc was now out,” Tracy recalled. “It wasn’t the end of the world, but emotionally it was.”
Tracy already had a lacrosse scholarship to North Carolina. “I was taking it real slow, thinking about college,” she said. “I had to behave myself – obviously there was pain. But I wasn’t worried; I expected to be ready for practice and then the season.”
But when practice started, the doctors put up a red light. “I had to wait another month,” the athletic 5’4” midfielder said.
“Yes, now I did worry. Playing for Fox Lane is very important to me. So is playing in college.”
Fox Lane had been 18-1 last year, had taken a state title the year before and the league crown before that, but it suffered 11 graduation losses last June. Coach Bill Broggy had to start four sophomores against Yorktown and other regulars were playing through injuries. Without Tracy, it would have been a long season. “She’s probably the best skilled player in Section 1,” Broggy said.
While frustrated by her inactivity in the preseason, Tracy still helped her team, working with goalies, the big scorer helping prevent scores. “Showing them some of my tricks,” as she put it.
“She would come, shoot with us and help us defend,” said junior Kendall Marianacci, in her second season in the Foxes’ goal. “The best way you’re going to save is if you know how the shooter thinks.
“She has definitely elevated my game and motivated me to keep getting better.”
Tracy herself was enough better to play when the season opened, but far from all there physically. Broggy used her at attack – less running involved – and limited her to half a game in the opener, then at attack for the full game the next time out. She has gone all the way at her accustomed midfield spot in the last two games of Fox Lane’s 2-2 start. Still, she has 14 goals in those three-and-one-half games. Fellow midfielder Keiley O’Hagan, a junior who missed last year’s section final with a broken ankle, has started fast with 18 goals in four games, 5 against Yorktown.
Then, three days later and three day healthier, Tracy amassed six goals in win over John Jay.
Tracy has been carefully coached from the outset of her lacrosse adventures, which started in the second grade. Her dad, Dan, directed her in youth lacrosse from the second through the seventh grade; now she has started for five years on Broggy’s varsity.
“When did I know my daughter would be good? Right away,” said Dan Tracy. “She kind of stood out from the beginning. She goes all out all the time. Sometimes, even when she shouldn’t.”
And when it comes to performing at the next level with a possible back challenge, here, too, her father has set a good example. Dan Tracy, with the back difficulties his daughter inherited, was a three-time All-American for the University of Maryland.