Iowa soccer's Nasenbenny struck by knee injury … again


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Katie Nasenbenny played in one game during her freshman season on the Iowa soccer team.

She tore her ACL in practice the next day.

After months of intensive rehab, the midfielder returned and became a spark plug for head coach Ron Rainey's squad. She helped the Hawkeyes start the year 10-1-2, 2-1-2 in the Big Ten.

She was healthy and producing for the Hawkeyes through 11 games, scoring five goals — including two game-winners.

But injury struck for a second time when Iowa played Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., on Sept. 25.

Nasenbenny went down with an injury in the 75th minute of play. She had to be helped off the field, and she returned to the sidelines toward the end of Iowa's 1-1 draw supported by crutches.

"I wasn't really thinking about getting hurt this year," she said. "But it was at that split second that I knew I re-injured my knee badly."

She said she had a hard time thinking about the injury when the Hawkeyes drove back to Iowa City.

"A lot of my thoughts weren't positive," she said. "I can't believe I did this again — it's almost as if I wasn't meant to play soccer in college."

Nasenbenny had an MRI on her knee later in the week, and doctors discovered she had torn her ACL for the second time in 13 months.

Surgery is scheduled in the coming weeks for Nasenbenny, who will also continue a vigorous rehab process that she has already begun.

Every morning for an hour, the native of La Grange, Ill., performs exercises designed to strengthen her knee. During the afternoon, she attends practice and undergoes her second session of rehab there.

Since learning the diagnosis, Nasenbenny said, she accepted it, and she has tried to look at the situation optimistically.

"It'll be easier to go through rehab this time, because I've done it before, and I know what to expect," Nasenbenny said. She also aid she has seen improvement in her knee strength that was absent after her first ACL tear.

Her hard work towards recovery hasn't gone unnoticed by her teammates.

"Everyone's rallied around to help her deal with this circumstance," junior midfielder Dana Dalrymple said. "She's been keeping a good attitude about it, despite it being her second time."

And while she said she would miss Nasenbenny's presence in the midfield, Dalrymple said the team is filled with players who are willing to step up and provide depth.

The Hawkeyes have gone 1-1 since losing Nasenbenny, but the team prefers not to dwell on the past as it looks ahead to the rest of the conference season.

"There is a reality that injuries are part of every season," Rainey said. "That's why everybody has been training very hard since August to be able to withstand injuries. Players aren't the same, so we'll talk to people about certain roles or taking on certain [responsibilities] — but we still want to play to our strengths with whoever is out on the field."

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