There’s no known cure for the injury bug. No cough syrup or throat lozenges or nasal decongestant to ease the pain. Not even grandma’s special tea will do the trick. Sure, you can take a Tylenol, but by then, you’re watching from the sideline.
With six games left in the regular season, this frustrating malady has held the Rock Bridge soccer team (8-8-2) captive, helplessly watching as it permeates through the locker room and onto the field. Beginning with tonight’s game at Belton (4-12), the Bruins said their main concern is surviving the middle part of the season and getting to the district tournament in one piece.
The bug seemed to begin two weeks ago when defensive starter Parker Dunn tore his ACL against Hickman, prematurely ending his season.
From there it spread to senior defensive captain Brandon Wulff and junior Zack Bassuener. They both succumbed to leg injuries against Helias, forcing them to sit out the Bruins tournament in Quincy, Ill., last weekend.
And once the team arrived there, it didn’t take long for another player to be injured.
In the first half of the opening game of the tournament, sophomore standout Adam Ross was caught in midair trying to secure possession of the ball. As he descended to the ground, his footing went out from underneath him and he landed awkwardly on his right leg. He broke his fibula, the team learned after the game, ending his season.
“That was the worst piece of the weekend,” Bruins coach Kirby Keth said.
With adversity comes opportunity, though, and Keth said his reserves now have a chance to prove they can compete at the varsity level.
So far, they have responded.
For junior Jeff Roper, filling in for Parker wasn’t good enough. He wanted to prove that his play was deserving of a starting role. It didn’t take long for everyone else to agree. Despite adjusting to a new position at the Quincy tournament, he was named to the all-tournament team in recognition of his outstanding defensive efforts.
It got even better. Sophomore defender Spencer Adams was called up from the junior varsity team specifically for the tournament. After getting roughed up early, Adams adjusted to the faster, more physical tempo of the game and thrived in the spotlight of his new starting role.
Like Roper, Adams enjoyed the taste of playing at the highest level.
“We’ve got one defender back but we’re leaving (Adams) in because he’s done such a good job,” Keth said.
And that’s good news for Rock Bridge. With the district tournament only weeks away, the Bruins might have finally found a cure for that pesky bug just in time.