Girls Soccer: Cahill the difference for New Trier defense
Allison Kincaide (middle) of Naperville Central tries to control the ball while double teamed by Aly Marzonie (left) and Molly Cahill of New Trier. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:14AM
After everything went black, New Trier sophomore soccer player Molly Cahill had to rely on others to tell her what had happened.
Cahill was playing forward for her club soccer team last November when she collided with the opposing goalie as both went for the ball. In the process, Cahill suffered a serious concussion, which forced her to miss weeks of school.
“Coming back from that was very difficult,” Cahill said. “I was out of school for quite a while, so I had a lot of school work to make up, and soccer. I couldn’t go to class for a while, so I was in the Bridges program at New Trier. It’s a program to help students when they miss a certain amount of classes.”
She eased her way back into the routine of attending school, and didn’t play soccer for three months. But when her headaches ceased near the end of February, Cahill was able to try out for the Trevians one year after scoring 26 goals as a member of the freshman team.
“It was my second concussion in a year,” said Cahill, who has become the team’s starting center back. “I knew I was going to come back, I just didn’t know how long I’d be out for. I didn’t know if I would ever be the player I was. I still feel like I’m coming back, but I’ve definitely made a lot of progress.”
Cahill started off as a forward for coach Jim Burnside’s team, but in a moment of frustration with his defense in the middle of the season, Burnside stuck Cahill into the middle of New Trier’s back line.
“Honest truth, it was game where I got mad at our defense and I just threw her in there, knowing she had played there. But I hadn’t even planned on her playing there — and she just played lights-out,” Burnside said. “It was a situation for a coach where it was the ah-ha moment. She’s been great.”
Indeed, Cahill has been solid on New Trier’s back line. She primarily played forward before this season — both with her club and at New Trier, which last week won its own regional to improve to 18-3-1 — and when she was put on the back line, the only experience she had to draw upon was her time spent playing defensive midfield.
“I was kind of uncomfortable in the back at first, but a few years ago I was a stopper, so I was able to incorporate some of the midfield (skills) into the defensive positioning,” Cahill said.
On the field, a few things are different for Cahill this season. She’s shifted into a new position, she’s playing for a team that expects to win a state title, and she’s saddled with a nervousness that stems from the moment she can’t remember.
Despite all of this, Burnside feels Cahill has found a home.
“We tried to ease the transition into forward, and now that she’s moved to somewhere she’s really comfortable, you can almost see her go (exhales), ‘I’m home,’ ” Burnside said. “That, to me, is really nice to see where a kid is comfortable.”