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Overcoming the injury bug

November 21, 2012
Jeremy Behnke - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - Minnesota Valley Lutheran senior Mariah Schoof admitted that she is not a very patient person.

She especially learned that over the course of the last nine months or so. Schoof was playing basketball in a spring AAU game and while doing a crossover, she tore her right ACL. She had surgery May 25 and the injury forced her to miss the rest of the spring golf season, her summer basketball season, then volleyball this past fall.

This meant she had to sit and watch from the sidelines. That wasn't always easy for someone who's used to getting a lot of minutes.

Article Photos

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Mariah Schoof is back for the Chargers’ this season after an ACL injury this spring.

"The summer basketball league is my favorite, and it was just aweful sitting on the bench watching them," Schoof said. "I was just trying to be supportive. It was just hard having to watch and not being able to play.

"I'm very impatient, but it [the injury] has taught me to be more patient," she added.

She spent the entire summer and fall working her injury back into playing shape. While she's close to returning now, it wasn't easy for her physically or mentally.

"It was pretty hard, because basketball is my life," the point guard said. "It just makes it stronger, because I have to work out every day to get my muscle back."

Even though she wasn't playing, it wasn't a lost cause for her. She picked up some tips from the sidelines and those should help her this year.

"I was just watching them and I learned a ton of stuff that I could do a ton of stuff on my own as a point guard," she said. "It's different when you're playing and guarding them, when you're on the bench you can watch them. But I learned that I'm not a very patient person and I have to be thankful for what I actually can do."

Schoof was voted All-Tomahawk Conference last year and she averaged 12 points per game (ppg) for the Chargers. She plans on returning to the Chargers sometime in December because she isn't fully healed yet.

Joining Schoof is Sarah Burk, who averaged 12.2 ppg for the Chargers. Burk will play at a post position, along with sophomore Anna Munsen (10.1 ppg).

For coach Dave Biedenbender, it'll be kind of different seeing Burk and Schoof on the floor together at the same time. Burk played in 16 games last year (25 for Schoof) and she played in one her sophomore year.

"Mariah and Sarah have been taking turns coming back from injuries, and I think it's going to be slow going in the beginning of the year, I'm going to have to ease them back into it," he said. "I think when we get them both back when they're healthy again, I think they're really provide us with some good play."

Other guards on the roster include senior Chrissy Biedenbender, juniors Laura Schoenherr, Mariah Stein, Nicole Moldstad, Karissa Schlottman and Charlotte Pfingsten and senior Larissa DeRousse. Senior forward Martha Johnston and junior forwards Alexa Alfred and Rachel Olsen round out the squad.

Schoof isn't the only member of the Chargers who's had to overcome an ACL injury. Alfred and Burk, who has had two ACL injuries, have had the same injury.

The MVL senior class has played a lot of basketball together. Both Schoof and Chrissy Biedenbender helped tape for the Chargers during their state tournament trips while they were in sixth grade. Schoof and Burk have also been a part of the varsity program since they were sophomores and Schoof says they've come a long way since then.

"It was so exciting [as sophomores], we were playing with all the older kids and we got to play at the highest level of high school basketball," Schoof said. "Now we are the [oldest] and we have to play the best and try to set examples for the younger girls."

In the meantime, she'll be helping out with Pfinsten and Moldstad, who will play the point guard position until Schoof is able to re-join the squad.

The Chargers should be among the top teams in the Tomahawk Conference this year. Coach Biedenbender thinks Wabasso and Springfield will be two of the top teams, along with the Chargers and New Ulm Cathedral.

The Chargers have the motto "Play Like Champions Today" for this year's team. Schoof, for one, can't wait to get the season going.

"I am very, very excited," she said. "We have so many good players and I think we have very high potential to go far in the playoffs."

The Chargers open the season November 27 when they host Nicollet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27.



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