No Pain, No Gain: North senior overcomes injuries to earn 2nd Player-of-Year honor

A broken right ankle from her seventh-grade year, a stress fracture in her right ankle from her freshman year, a torn right ACL from the summer before her junior year and a dislocated collarbone from her sternum in the past club season couldn’t keep Addy Lang off the soccer field this fall.

The culmination of those injuries and the wear it has caused on the Columbus North senior, however, has led to her decision not to play at the collegiate level. That may seem like a shock to some who saw the speedy forward score 25 goals as a sophomore and 26 as a senior.

Lang’s efforts this season led to a first-team All-State selection by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association. They also earned her The Republic Girls Soccer Player of the Year honors for the second time in three years.

“She’s just a pure competitor on the field,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “She plays with a lot of guts and passion and a true competitive spirit. Her mindset is second to none when it comes to focus and having a goal. If she wants to get a goal, nobody is going to get in her way.”

That came despite all the injuries. The worst was the torn ACL during her club soccer season in May 2015.

In the final game of that club season, Lang leaped for a header, landed awkwardly and heard a pop in her right knee. An MRI revealed the worst — a torn ACL that would cause her to miss the entire high school season her junior year.

Although the ankle didn’t give her any problems her senior year, the knee and collarbone did. When she went to the ground during games, the collarbone often would shift and cause a lot of pain.

Then, there was the knee.

“Sometimes, I would jump, or I would land, and I would definitely feel it,” Lang said. “It would just start swelling up and it would feel really tight. Some days, when it started raining, it would start aching because of the pressure change.”

Still, it couldn’t keep Lang off the field for more than a couple of minutes at a time, and that was a huge benefit to the Bull Dogs.

With Lang and a couple other key players relegated to the sidelines, North struggled in 2015. They went 5-9-3 and were eliminated in the sectional.

This year, the Bull Dogs bounced back with a 13-3-4 record and their first regional championship since 2011.

Lang isn’t giving up soccer entirely. She is considering playing intramurals next year at the University of Louisville, where she will major in physical therapy. She also is doing Crossfit and training for sprint triathlons to stay in shape.

So far, Lang says the exertion on her knee isn’t as great as it is when she’s running up and down the soccer field and maneuvering around defenders. Still, she figures she’ll miss playing in a competitive team atmosphere, like she did her junior year.

“I was surprised at how quickly she came back,” Stewart said. “Just knowing Addy and how committed she is, I knew she’d have a good (senior) year. She’s had a lot of adversity with the injuries, and she’s just fun to watch.”

At a glance

The Republic 2016 All-Area Girls Soccer team:

Addy Lang, Columbus North: The senior forward led the Bull Dogs with 26 goals in earning first-team All-State honors.

Natalie Teo, Columbus North: The senior center midfielder netted five goals and five assists.

Marina Hughes, Columbus North: The senior outside back helped a defense that allowed only 14 goals in 20 games.

Emma Wilson, Columbus North: The senior outside back helped a defense that allowed only 14 goals in 20 games.

Tanner Johnson, Columbus North: The sophomore forward recorded 11 goals and four assists.

Liz Tynan, Columbus North: The junior goalkeeper posted 58 saves and a 0.66 goals against average.

Elizabeth Craig, Columbus North: The senior center back helped a defense that allowed only 14 goals in 20 games.

Lindsey Stoughton, Columbus East: The freshman center midfielder scored three goals.

Maggie Lewis, Columbus East: The senior center midfielder netted one goal.

Morgan Martindale, Columbus East: The junior center back led a defense that allowed 25 goals in 18 games.

Karlee Dowd, Columbus East: The senior outside midfielder recorded three goals and led the Olympians with four assists.

Alexus Brown, Jennings County: The junior defensive midfielder led the Panthers with 11 goals and had five assists.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Haylee DeWeerdt, Azhia Morgan, Skyler Fleischman. Columbus East: Addy Galarno, Brooke Hamblen, Mila Lipinski, Sarah Park. Columbus North: Caroline Hollenkamp, Kristen Orben, Elise Whitley. Jennings County: Baylee Byford, Mackenzie Byram. Trinity Lutheran: Sidney Hoene, Lexi Keller.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.