Sometimes, like an overfilled balloon, it’s only a matter of time before the pressure forces its way through.
That’s probably the best explanation for Leah Sully’s knee injury in the opening match of the 2010 season.
The set wasn’t perfect, but there have been far, far worse in the history of volleyball. There was no contact from the other side of the net. Sully went up and then crumpled into a heap.
Her left knee, like that overfilled balloon, just gave out. The sensational outside hitter from Irvine, Calif. was lost for the season. Surgery for the torn anterior cruciate ligament forced Sully onto crutches and there were thoughts she would never jump to her previous heights before.
“I have to be honest with you,” says UCSB’s legendary women’s volleyball coach Kathy Gregory, “when she went down, a little voice said ‘There may go our season.’”
Without Sully’s presence, UCSB finished three games over .500 and just narrowly missed a spot in the NCAA postseason. It allowed Kara Sherrard to step up and claim a deserved place on the All-Big West Freshman Team.
It also allowed Sully to re-evaluate.
“It was frustrating,” she said.
A torn ACL to a person who makes a sporting career out of jumping so often would be like taking the steering wheel away from a long-haul truck driver. Everyone around the Gaucho program feared the worst for Sully’s previously bright future.
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