The threshold Megan Smith developed for pain met its match.
Plantar fasciitis in both feet kept Smith from playing soccer her junior season at Central Catholic, and that was the real pain in the situation.
“I was in a boot for seven months, which was hard,” Smith said. “I eventually started to get used to the pain, but I never got used to not playing.”
It drove the Knights forward to come back even stronger. She had surgery in April, recovered over the summer and returned for the start of the season ready to take the CC program to new heights.
Through Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Rossville, Smith leads a CC team ranked 12th in Class A with 14 goals despite missing two matches with an injury.
“She is so smart and always finds the back of the net,” senior back Alaina Milazzo said. “Her sitting out was kind of a silver lining, because she could sit and watch what this team needs to improve and what our strengths and weaknesses are.”
Smith didn’t score in a season-opening loss to Harrison, but it didn’t take long for her to look like the player her teammates had become accustomed to.
She scored a pair of goals against Faith Christian in the second match, and the third she beat Delphi’s keeper an impressive six times. She also had a hat trick against Crawfordsville on Sept. 16.
Smith may have lost a season of soccer, but she did not lose her knack for scoring goals, something she’s gained a reputation for in her soccer career.
“I’ve been playing with Megan since we were 10,” senior Kelsey Harding said. “That’s how it was when we played rec together.”
It’s been an impressive season to date, no doubt, but it hasn’t surprised Knights coach Bill Kerr.
Like Harding, Kerr remembers Smith’s younger years and seeing the cerebral player weave her way into holes left by the defense, then sneaking by and letting teammates find her in open space.
“Megan is not the fastest, she definitely is not the biggest, but she plays extremely smart,” Kerr said. “She puts herself in the right position on the field. She sits back and watches a play develop and moves herself into that open space where she feels the ball is going to be.”
When Smith returned for preseason training this year, she admittedly had a little rust. Once she got back in the flow, everything came back to her.
“I was able to get back into it pretty quickly once I was fully recovered,” she said. “I did not expect this at all, though.”