Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Holle Makes Triumphant Return Following Knee Injury


Erika Holle suffered a major knee injury that kept her off the soccer field last fall, but she worked hard to get healthy and compete for the North Haven girls’ lacrosse team in the spring. Photo courtesy of Erika Holle

Erika Holle suffered a major knee injury that kept her off the soccer field last fall, but she worked hard to get healthy and compete for the North Haven girls’ lacrosse team in the spring. (Photo courtesy of Erika Holle )

June of 2018 was a difficult time for Erika Holle. Erika tore the ACL and the meniscus in her left knee while playing for her club soccer team, forcing her to miss her junior season with the North Haven girls’ soccer squad. However, Erika was determined to get back on the field with the lacrosse team this spring and worked relentlessly so she could accomplish that goal.

“In the beginning, I was devastated, because I wouldn’t be able to play soccer,” says Erika. “My mindset was getting back for lacrosse season, so I could play my junior year.”

Erika had to go to physical therapy several times a week in order to get her left leg back to full strength. It was a long and arduous road, but Erika kept focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel.

“It was very vigorous. I had to build up the muscle in my left leg,” Erika says. “The biggest thing was preparing for the test to go back to sports. I was cleared at the end of January, so I started to go to captains’ practice, and it felt so good to get back with the team.”

Erika made a triumphant return to the Indians during the 2019 spring season. She says that it was a surreal moment to be back out there with her teammates on the lacrosse field.

“It was amazing,” says Erika. “It was so nice, because everyone was just so happy for me. It was a good feeling.”

Erika had to play with a fiberglass knee brace on her left leg this year, but that didn’t hold her back. As a defensive midfielder, Erika made an impact on both ends of the turf for the Indians.

“Conditioning is a lot of it. My ability to run up and down the field and see the field in a way many people can’t from the back makes it a lot easier to see who is open and who to make a pass to,” Erika says. “It’s all about what the next move is to help score a goal.”

Erika also posed plenty of problems for opponents off the draw. Assistant coach Bernie Pellegrino says that Erika always puts herself in the right position to gain possession for North Haven. Pellegrino is eager to see how Erika will perform during her senior season next spring.

“If there’s a loose ball, she’s there, and she’s going to get the ball. There’s no doubt about it. She’s tenacious,” says Pellegrino. “Having her back with all of her experience, she’ll be an anchor for us. Erika is a real competitor. Being able to bring her back and build around her will be huge for us.”

Erika is currently preparing for her senior soccer season. She recently started practicing with her Premier team and feels happy to once again be patrolling the pitch.

“It’s a lot more nerve-wracking than going back to lacrosse, because I got hurt playing soccer, but all those feelings just went away once I started playing,” Erika says. “I haven’t really played soccer in about a full year, so it’s a good feeling to be back. I’m excited and ready to help everyone around me get better and improve myself as much as I can.”

Erika is unsure about whether she wants to continue her soccer career in college. One thing Erika is certain about, though, is that she’s ready to make up for lost time on the soccer field with North Haven this fall.

“I want to make everyone around me better and improve myself. I want it to be a good season for everyone,” says Erika. “Missing my junior year made it hard, but I’m still thinking about playing. It will depend on how this soccer season goes.”

PJ Foti covers sports for East Haven and North Branford for Zip06. Email PJ at pj.foti@shorepublishing.com.

Reader Comments