COLUMBIA — A broken vertebra, broken ribs and a separated shoulder completely changed the expectations Kenzie Jacoby had for her senior year with the Rock Bridge girls soccer team.
On the night of April 8, Jacoby was driving home from an Easter visit with her grandparents when a car crossed the median, causing her Jeep to flip. Three weeks into the season, Jacoby, a midfielder, thought she would be out for the remainder of it.
Rock Bridge Bruins (15-6)
vs. Glendale Falcons (18-5)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Cooper Soccer Complex, 2334 East Pythian Drive, Springfield
But Jacoby's injuries weren't critical. She was able to walk the night she got home from the hospital.
She was unable to return to school though. She stayed in bed for two weeks.
Jacoby started to feel better, however, and made a goal to play on Senior Night.
“As I started feeling mobile, I was ready to go,” Jacoby said.
Bruins coach Marc VanDover was a little less convinced.
“I was aiming for her to dress out Senior Night, walk out on the field and pull her right out,” he said.
Although determined, Jacoby did not get to practice until the day after Senior Night. She made her return Tuesday night in Rock Bridge’s 3-0 sectional win against Waynesville. She played 10 to 15 minutes in each half.
“She’s an aggressive player. I was wanting to see if she would hold back or go all out, and she did,” VanDover said.
Jacoby, who was more excited than nervous, experienced some pain after the game. It was mostly in her shoulder, but her back, which was everyone’s main concern, felt fine.
Part of the excitement stemmed from her desire to improve.
“I was never satisfied with myself before the accident,” Jacoby said about her performance in the beginning of the season.
After the accident, she realized she was not going to have the shining senior season she had anticipated. Jacoby was still able to return, however, and she credits her team for helping to make that happen.
"They were really supportive," she said. They made wristbands with Jacoby’s initials along with the initials of her other injured teammates, she said. The team made a trip to her house while she was resting, and the seniors visited multiple times.
Injuries are common for Jacoby and the Bruins. She has undergone multiple shoulder surgeries. In addition, senior keeper Aubrie Cornell and senior forward Anna Alioto have been out since the beginning of the season with a broken leg and knee injury, respectively. Cornell was replaced by sophomore Madison Boyken, who has also suffered a concussion and missed a few games this season. Senior forward Carmen Boessen has also suffered knee injuries, including a torn meniscus, though she opted out of having surgery until after the season.
Jacoby is back, but VanDover is still being cautious about the quarterfinal game on Saturday.
"It will be a game-time decision. I expect she'll play, but there's no guarantee," he said.
If Jacoby does play, her coach is sure of one thing: She will be the aggressive player she has always been.