San Antonio – St. Mary’s University sophomore defender Annia Olivares sat in a doctor’s office Wednesday, getting her knee drained after recently chipping off a piece of cartilage.
Yet there was nary a sign of the procedure as Friday’s contest against Abilene Christian University got underway – with Olivares in the starting lineup.
“I didn’t want to let my team down,” said Olivares, an El Paso native. “I want them to know I tried my hardest.”
That much was certain, as a banged-up Olivares survived nearly 35 minutes before being substituted out for good late in the first half in Abilene Christian’s 5-0 victory at the St. Mary’s Soccer Field.
“It was a little painful,” she said. “A lot of discomfort, but I kind of got through it. But it was disappointing because of the result.”
Olivares wasn’t the only one hurting as St. Mary’s (1-2) tried to stave off a physical Abilene Christian squad, as junior defender/midfielder Andrea Gregg (Austin, Texas) played with a cast on her arm after injuring last weekend.
But the Rattlers’ sheer toughness wasn’t enough to overcome Abilene Christian – or to beat an early 1-0 hole.
The Rattlers fell behind nearly seven minutes into the game when Courtney Wilson converted a penalty kick following a foul in the box. Olivares said the nature of the goal put a damper on the team’s spirits, and Abilene Christian capitalized with two more goals in the half.
Rattlers goalkeepers Mari Edwards and Felicia Lombardo tried to spark a rally by combining to make several fantastic stops the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough against their oft-firing opponent. Abilene Christian outshot St. Mary’s 23-8.
Most disappointing to Olivares was that she knows the result wasn’t representative of this year’s team.
“I know how good of a team we are,” said Olivares, who hopes to be ready to play when the Rattlers host Northeastern State University at 12 p.m. Sunday. “That’s why I wanted to play, to beat them and show them we’re better this year (after losing to Abilene Christian last season). Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our day.”