Blue Devils Fall Short In Conference Semi Finals

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s women’s basketball team  fell to Robert Morris 70-62 in the NEC Semi-Final. It was a close game, but the Colonials of Robert Morris held on to beat CCSU, closing their year at 11-21 and 9-10 in the league.

CCSU shot 23 of 55 from the field. and were 13 of 16 from the foul line. They struggled beyond the arc and shot three of 14.

Giocelis Reynoso finished with a double-double. She was four of nine from the field and made both of her free throws, finishing with 10 points. She grabbed a career high 15-rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block.

Aleah Epps led the team in scoring with 15 points. She was four of eight from the field and made seven of her eight free throws. She was able to record one rebound, three assists and two steals.

Andi Lydon contributed 10 points and was four of 11 from the field, and two of six from the beyond the arc. She had four rebounds, one assist and two steals.

Robert Morris shot 24 of 56 from the field, five of 17 from the arc and was 17 of 24 from the foul line. Robert Morris also didn’t shoot well from the arc, however, the Colonials drew many fouls and took good advantage of those shots. The Colonials were 70.8 percent in foul shots.

Anna Niki Stamolamprou had played well for the Colonials, with five of 16 from the field, two of five from the arc and three of four from the foul line. She finished with five rebounds, four assists and two steals and scored many points for her team.

Rebeca Navarro also played well for the Colonials.  She was four of 11 from the field, two of seven from the arc and one of two on foul shots.  She also had five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.

CCSU went into the half being down by just four points, but in the third quarter they were outscored by nine points. CCSU started the fourth period being down by 13 points and outscored Robert Morris in the fourth quarter 22-17, but it was too late. Robert Morris eventually went on to win the NEC tournament against Bryant.

More Than Just a Safe Place

by Sarah Willson
The Ruth Boyea Women’s Center at Central Connecticut State University has provided students with guidance and resources for over 15 years and is continuing to add new programs.
“On campus, we provide cultural resources,” said freshman Michelle Chavdhary, a staff member at the Women’s Center.
“There’s a Latino Women in Leadership program that we provide. We also offer services such as Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),” said Chavdhary. “I’m currently working on the Girls in STEM expo, it’s our ninth year that we’re doing [the program] here at CCSU.”
“What we’re trying to do is promote and foster [women] in the STEM field because there are not a lot of them going to the STEM field,” said Chavdhary. “We bring in about a hundred girls from Connecticut.”
The event is run by students and staff volunteers at CCSU and acts as a way to encourage women to join the STEM field.
Chavdhary believes the STEM turnout for females is so low due to its largely male image.
Women only make up 25.8 percent of the STEM fields, according to Catalyst, a non-profit organization that aims to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion.
The Women’s Center, known for its variety of activities, also puts together events that stray far from academics.
“Planned Parenthood was a program we did in February as a way to provide females and males here on campus with information about the services offered,” said Chavdhary. “A lot of people don’t really know exactly what Planned Parenthood is, or the services they provide.”
The program was described as a way to help students practice safe sex and feel in control of their own bodies.
“We also do Women’s Night In for females here on campus,” said Chavdhary. “We have belly dancing, pole dancing and yoga. It’s basically just to empower women.”
The Women’s Center does more than just host activities. Chavdhary stated that staff members are always more than willing to help students overcome any academic or personal obstacle they may face throughout their time at CCSU.
“People who are uncomfortable [going to the Women’s Center] should not be uncomfortable because we understand your situation,” said Chavdhary. “We know what you’re going through. We’re here to care for you and we’re here to help you. You are going to be our first priority.”
“It’s a place for anybody and everybody. They can come here and talk to us and we can get you the help that you need,” said Chavdhary.
“I think a lot of people tend to forget that the Women’s Center is for both males and females,” said Chavdhary. “Everybody here is welcome.”
The Women’s Center, named after its founder, Ruth Boyea, “exists to provide resources, to advocate, to inform and to support personal development,” to students and faculty at CCSU, according to its website.
Located in room 215 of the Student Center, the Women’s Center provides a variety of programs for both men and women, on and off campus.
Students can find services that provide information on a variety of issues such as women’s rights, gender equality and leadership roles Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Women’s Center aims to bring students together regardless of their economic status, sexual orientation or cultural and ethnic background.

Hickey Gets Team Ready For Conference Play

by Alex Nordstrom

The Central Connecticut State Blue Devil baseball team has had an up and down run in the Northeast Conference, which has been highlighted by a stretch from 2002-2004 when they won title for three consecutive years.

In the past few years however, the Blue Devils have been inconsistent in where they have ended up among conference competition.

Last year, CCSU made the NEC tournament finishing fourth during the regular season with a 15-17 record. However, the season before that they missed the tournament finishing in last pace.  Two years ago, in 2014, they were runner’s up in the regular season for the NEC conference.

In the NEC pre-season poll this season, the Blue Devils received a number two ranking in the conference behind reigning tournament champion Bryant and ahead of last year’s runner-up Sacred Heart.

Leading the way for the Blue Devils this year will be their All-NEC junior second basemen Dean Lockery, who was third in hits (72) and seventh in batting average (.344) in the conference last season. CCSU also has a returning All-League first team starting pitcher in senior Andrew Hinckley, anchoring the pitching staff who was fourth in the conference last year in wins (8).

With such a high ranking and spot to be in heading into the 2017 season, 18th year head coach of the Blue Devils, Charlie Hickey, says that rankings mean nothing to his team.

“I don’t think it means anything in terms of pre-season rankings and to be honest about it, I didn’t even know about it,” said Hickey. “We have to sure up some things with our pitching staff with a couple of injuries before heading into conference play first of all.”

Hickey did point out that his team will benefit from more three game weekends than four this season.

“The first two weekends are only going to be three games which will be beneficial to us at this time of the year,” said Hickey.

With two of the team’s top pitchers in, senior Brett Susi and junior Cody Brown coming off injuries, Hickey says that shorter game match ups early on in the season will give these two the time to get back fully healthy without the need to rush.

Hickey said another positive thing that his Blue Devils have going for them right now is a lot of different position combinations that has created good competition for his players.

“Competition creates a little anxiety and people come to the ballpark having to prove themselves,” said Hickey. “It is not going to be a team that we are going to just write down the same nine guy’s everyday which is fine and it will keep everyone going.”

Bryant is a team at the top of the list that CCSU is looking to take down this year, especially as they come into this season as reigning conference champions, in addition to a top ranking in the conference.

“They are a good team, and they have been a good team,” said Hickey. “They are re-building a little bit this year after having seven kids drafted off of last year’s team, which is pretty remarkable in this conference and part of the country.”

When it comes down to it, Hickey puts it very simple regarding his expectations for this upcoming season, pre-season rankings and everything else set aside.

“I think our expectations are to be able to compete at the top level of the conference, it’s where we should be and what we are capable of doing.”

Currently on the young season, CCSU sits at 9-7 in non-conference play, good enough for the best record in the conference so far. They started conference play this weekend with three wins against Mount St. Mary’s, as they began their run towards a conference title.

 

Make America Stupid Again

by Kristina Vakhman

The Trump administration proposed its “America First” budget plan to Congress last week, unveiling alarming cuts to significant educational and scientific institutions.

These slashes were propositioned to offset a $54 billion increase in military spending and other security measures.

If Congress approves the current proposed budget, the Department of Education would suffer a whopping $9 billion decrease in the next fiscal year. 20 of the department’s programs would be defunded or entirely eliminated.

The Environmental Protection Agency would see a $2.6 billion cut and a loss of 3,200 jobs, consequently affecting educational programs centered around environmental protection, such as Advanced Placement Environmental Science in high schools.

Additional government and independent programs and agencies at risk include: the Federal Pell Grant Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Art Works, the National Endowment for the Arts, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, work study programs, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, NASA’s Office of Education and many more.

For public colleges like Central Connecticut State University, these reductions and eliminations mean less support for low-income students in need of financial aid, as well as a potential increase in tuition.

While these cuts have been presented to “emphasize national security and public safety,” as written in President Donald Trump’s opening message in the plan, there may be a darker reason for why educational, scientific and related programs are major targets in the administration’s radar: Trump and his administration are trying to dumb down the American people.

According to a report done by the Pew Research Center after the 2016 presidential election, voters “without a college degree backed Trump 52 percent to 44 percent” against Clinton.

“Dramatic movement” amongst those with no college degree caused the widest gap between college and non-college voters since “any election dating to 1980,” the report adds.

It is clear that the president benefitted greatly from this demographic. He could potentially benefit from it again, should he run for re-election in 2020.

So, why would Trump want any of its residents to move from it? Why would he want uneducated voters to educate themselves and to potentially form views that differ from his? He would lose a major voting base if there is movement in educational demographics; his best bet to keep that from happening is to suppress policies and programs that provide for these kinds of advancements.

This strategy is similar to what Trump is doing with facts and reputable sources. By undermining the credibility of news organizations, journalists, scientists and professors that present the truth in his actions, our commander-in-chief is keeping his supporters in the dark. Even if this is detrimental to the functioning of society, as people are blindly voting for things that can cause them harm (like the American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare,” which will increase the cost of health insurance for poor and working-class white Americans — a group that voted for Trump), the president will do it anyway to rally support behind him.

Those who are not properly educated on certain topics will believe whatever comes out of the president’s mouth.

Trump and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, have stated that the president should be the American people’s main source of facts, not the press. By cutting education and science, Trump will be able to assert this role of truth-bearer; with less funding, these programs will have less of a chance to present facts contradicting his words.

His supporters, especially those with little education, will continue to stand behind him. That is why Trump has said he “loves the poorly educated.”

Less education means more voters wearing “pink glasses.” A badly educated population is easy to manipulate. Ask any dictator.

International Women’s Day Strike Brought Awareness to Gender Inequality

by Angela Fortuna

International Women’s Day was about spreading the message that women deserve all the same rights as men, according to Central Connecticut State University freshman Catherine Moran.

A crowd of about a hundred students and faculty rallied to support women’s rights in the Student Center Circle on March 8 as part of International Women’s Day.

“[The strike] brought awareness to an issue which is otherwise greatly overlooked by our population,” said Moran.

Moran admitted the strike made her feel empowered as a woman in today’s society.

“With rape and other violent [crimes] toward women more advertised on the media, [the issue] is still not on the decline,” said Moran. “It needs to be known that those issues, among others, are not acceptable and we will no longer stand for it.”

 

Although women’s rights have improved over the years, many women still have to deal with the issue of inequality, especially in the workplace.

“Despite the great leaps we have made for women, we are still making 75 cents for every dollar that a man makes,” said Moran.

Many who attended wore red in solidarity and abstained from paid and unpaid labor for the day, in conjunction with the early 1900s labor movement.

Participants were also asked to refrain from shopping for the day, or to only shop at small stores owned by women or people of color.

The event featured a few CCSU student speakers including freshmen Shelby Williams and Sawera Hussan, seniors Tania Correa and Monica Nieves and event chairperson, Amy Frances Tenenbaum.

Along with issues regarding women’s equality, many people are actively participating in these strikes in opposition of President Donald Trump and his policies, especially his lack of support for Planned Parenthood.

Trump is also known for having extremely lewd conversations about women, dating back to before he announced his candidacy for president.

“We strike to end gender violence, protect reproductive freedom, secure equal pay for all, preserve the environment and natural resources and call upon our governments around the world to enforce effective secularization,” said Tenenbaum in an earlier interview.

Tenenbaum felt confident with the outcome of the strike, posting later on in the day, “thank you so much to everyone who made it out today! YOU ALL are #WhyIStrike,” on the CCSU International Women’s Day Strike’s event page on Facebook.

The event, organized by Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at CCSU and the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center, aimed to get people to “come together for love and liberation,” as stated on the CCSU Women’s Strike poster.

People across the world collectively protested to support a particular wide-spread issue in society today: women’s equality.

The outcome of the strike proved to be successful and will be remembered as the first International Women’s Day strike held at CCSU.

Sitting Down With Senator Cusano

by Analisa Novak

If someone would have told Marissa Cusano that she would be making campaign posters for herself last year, she wouldn’t believe it. But the commuter senator has grown a lot within her time at Central Connecticut State University; so much that that she is throwing in her hat in the race for Vice President of the Student Government Association.

The Southington native, who first arrived at CCSU three years ago, found that commuting to campus was affecting her ability to be involved. It was then, that Cusano decided to get involved in one of the biggest organizations on-campus Greek life.

“I joined because I lacked confidence in myself and I wasn’t involved on campus at all. Being a commuter and being involved was hard for me. Phi Sigma Sigma gave me the confidence to aim high and really reach for the goals I wanted to accomplish. It was a home away from home for me,” Cusano said.

She found confidence within the many philanthropy events that Phi Sigma Sigma holds on campus, including the annual ALS walk, in which this year she is chairing.

“Phi Sigma Sigma taught me how to feel a sense of belonging on campus and how it’s important to get my voice heard and to do whatever I can to improve the way others view this campus,” Cusano said.

As big as Greek life is on campus, Cusano noticed there was no representation of it on the SGA. Even with the campus and fundraiser events that Greek life actively participate in; Cusano, like most sorority and fraternity members,noticed the negative stereotype that come with joining these organizations.

“Greek life had no representation on the student government when I joined. Greek life on campus really does work towards great things. We do philanthropy and are working on showing ourselves more on campus,” Cusano said.

This past year, with the support of her sisters, Cusano chose to be the voice for all Greek life by joining the senate.

“I joined senate this year and I joined to help represent Greek life and to help break the stereotype that Greek life is all about partying,” Cusano said.

It with amongst the SGA that Cusano found another family and another group of brothers and sisters. She explained her inspiration to run for vice president was found amongst her peers.

I know that it kind of sounds cheesy but if it wasn’t for senate I wouldn’t know my true strengths and abilities. I have grown so much since joining and I definitely owe a lot to senate along with Phi Sig. Phi Sig taught me how to feel a sense of belonging on campus and how it’s important to get my voice heard and to do whatever I can to improve the way others view this campus,” Cusano said.

As a commuter student she knows how important it is for all students to feel welcomed and to be involved.

“Not a lot of clubs know their liaison and that doesn’t sit right with me.I have noticed through being a liaison to clubs that communication between the SGA and clubs is strained,” Cussano said.

If elected, Cusano said she will make it a priority to bridge the divide between club officers and senators.

“We send emails out to the presidents occasionally but from my perspective it doesn’t seem to be the best way to communicate. Clubs need to be able to meet with their liaisons and feel comfortable talking to them and I don’t believe that clubs our comfortable coming to us. I want to change that. Clubs need to be able to communicate with us and feel comfortable coming to us for anything that they may need,” Cusano said.

Cusano credits her open minded mentality as key strength. She is actively searching to hear student concerns and to break any stereotype she comes across.

“I would describe my leadership style as participative. I value what others have to say about issues and I want others to voice their opinions on topics and feel like their voice is heard and I would be able to take those opinions and views and be able to make the decision that needs to be made,” Cusano said.

Cusano will graduate next year as a sociology major. She hopes to have a career in human resources in the near future. In her spare time she practices karate and plays softball. Cusano, has a lot of hope for the future of CCSU and for the future leaders of the senate. The once shy and timid student hopes to become a leader for all whether elected or not.

I’ve wanted to run for a while and almost didn’t submit a packet but then I realized that I want this and I shouldn’t limit myself because of others. It’s important that everyone on campus knows that they all have the ability to be a leader.  I want to be able to help encourage students to see their potential and to help them become leaders. When we graduate I want to be confident that I have done all that I could to make sure no one felt as though they couldn’t do something that they wanted,” Cusano said. 

What to Watch: The Last Man on Earth

by Corey O’Neil

¨The Last Man¨ on Earth may currently be the funniest show on television; and no one is talking about it.

¨The Last Man¨ on Earth stars SNL alum Will Forte, Kristen Schaal and January Jones.

The series revolves around a man named Phil Miller (Forte,) who believes he is the last man on earth, after a deadly virus spreads across the planet. He looks for others and paints billboards and buildings stating he is alive in his hometown of Tuscon, Arizona. Before attempting suicide, he discovers another survivor, Carol (Schaal).

The two have very butting personalities, and Forte and Schaal play off one another wonderfully. Forte plays his character with such ease, which makes it easy to believe that he is also the creator and the main writer of the series.

The series is produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the team behind the Jump Street films and The LEGO Movie. They also help write the series.

The show made its mid-season three return on back on March, 5. The episode featured none of its stars, but revolved around a newly introduced character played by Kristen Wiig.

This past premiere episode showcases yet again just how stellar it is written. We know nothing about this character and want to know more about the current characters within the show. The last episode left off on a cliffhanger, but Wiig is just too remarkable in her role, which is perfectly written to fit her comedic skills that it does not matter. Her character will hopefully return later this season.

The characters that are later introduced throughout the seasons provide another side of how life would be when humanity is thought to be gone, but through a comedic lens. Mad Men’s January Jones plays Melissa. Known for her dramatic roles in film and television, Jones in surprisingly hilarious in her role here. Another standout in the series is Mel Rodriguez, who plays Todd.

The series premiered back in March of 2015 on FOX, racking in 5.75 million viewers. Since then, no episode has come close to this number of viewers. It currently averages around 2.5 million viewers per episode, during its time slot of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday nights.

Rarely do you hear about this series, especially for it being on a major broadcast network like FOX. It has been nominated for five Emmy Awards since its premiere back in 2015. It is a great show that you show definitely check out!

Upcoming Concerts in CT

by Corey O’Neill

Connecticut is scattered with great concert venues. Whether at a local bar or at a much larger scene, there seems to be an intriguing show almost every weekend. Here are some of the notable upcoming shows around the state to look out for.

 

Bastille – Friday, March 31, Mohegan Sun

British indie pop band Bastille, sky-rocketed to the mainstream back in 2013, thanks to their radio smash-hit “Pompeii,” from their first LP “Bad Blood.” After a few years touring and recording, the group is back with a new record entitled “Wild World,” which was released this past September. Catch them at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, March 31. Tickets are still available from as low as $29, but act fast!

Image result for bastille

Big Sean – Friday, April 7, Toyota Oakdale Theatre

Detroit rapper Big Sean is currently touring his newest album “I Decided,” which was released by GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings last month. Known for putting on a great show, Big Sean will look to put on another exciting performance at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre on Friday, April 7. Tickets are currently available by Live Nation for around $50.

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The Decemberists – Saturday, April 15, College Street Music Hall

College Street Music Hall is a relatively new location in New Haven, and it is rapidly growing in popularity. Since its opening back in May of 2015, the venue has hosted many favorite artists among young adults. Tickets usually go for around $20, regardless of who is performing. Indie band The Decemberists, will be taking the stage on Saturday, April 15. Other notable upcoming shows include Mayday Parade in May, and City and Colour in June. Great shows at a great venue for a cheap price!

 

Eric Church — Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28, Mohegan Sun

For country fans, Eric Church will be performing back to back nights in later April. Church is currently touring his sixth studio album, “Mr. Misunderstood” for his “Holdin’ My Own Tour 2017.” Church has no opener for this tour and is playing two sets per show. Tickets are a bit pricey for this one, with prices starting from as low as $100.

 

The Fray – Sunday, April 30, Foxwoods

The Fray will be playing The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Sunday, April 30. The group may not be releasing new music anytime soon other than their most recent single “Singing Low,” but they are touring to promote their greatest hits album, “Through the Years: The Best of the Fray.” Tickets start at $60.

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Weezer Hints at upcoming Album with New Single

by Matt Balogh

Storming through the pop and rock charts in 1994 with “The Blue Album,” Weezer has been well known and loved for their “geek-rock” style for 25 years now. Being rather modest of their success, front man Rivers Cuomo felt anxious and uneasy about a lot of the new-found fame that the band had earned.

Many of these mixed feelings led to influence in Cuomo’s songwriting,and the darker sounding “Pinkerton.” Many remembered Pinkerton, but Cuomo wanted to forget about it. By describing it like a cathartic, yet embarrassing confessional, Cuomo disregarded the band’s efforts on that album until more recently.

Since Pinkerton was released in 1996, Weezer took a small break until 2001, subsequently releasing a number of albums greatly differing from Pinkerton’s style. The band took a route of more pop rock, similar to some tracks off of “The Blue Album,” and maintained a pop sound throughout most of their catalog.

Last year, Weezer released their fourth self-titled album, nicknamed “The White Album,” which became the tenth album in their catalog. This album merged their catchy pop-rock tunes with a mix of some “grunge pop” elements of their earliest music. Critics responded well to the album, and it even earned the band a Grammy nomination for best rock album, to which they lost to Cage The Elephant.

The band’s newest single “Feels Like Summer” was released on March 15, with confirmation of the band’s upcoming album Weezer (“The Black Album”), to be released in the summer. This album is meant to be a collection of firsts for the group. In a similar relation, Pinkerton was to “The Blue Album,” “The Black Album” is expected to be a lot darker than all of their previous albums, no pun intended.

Rivers Cuomo said, “If it were a movie, it would be rated R,” as opposed to their others, being compared to PG and PG-13 movies content wise. This is referencing Cuomo previously stating his name songs may feature more swearing, something that the band barely ever includes in their songs.

This news excited fans, expecting the raw and heavy sound and themes that Pinkerton was known for. However, when the band released “Feels Like Summer,” speculation went towards the direction of their pop sound.

The song is guided heavily on a drum machine beat, following a structure and sound that is very similar to a lot of pop music played on mainstream radio. The song has a catchy hook, but is strangely different from previous songs with the stylistic change.

Granted, fans were met with a previous confusion when the band released “Thank God For Girls” from “The White Album,” yet, the album featured a wide variety of tracks that satisfied old fans. While that may be the case for this single as well, it could provide a taste of their further exploration for new sound, which is a hard thing for any band to do.

Ali Hooker is Making a Comeback

by Lauren Lustgarten

There are about 250,000 to 300,000 ACL injuries per year, and the majority of those injuries are happening to athletes. “You always hear about athletes tearing their ACLs, but you never think it is going to be you,“ said member of the Central Connecticut State University Women’s Lacrosse team, senior Ali Hooker.

On March 12, 2016, on Arute Field against Iona College, Hooker became one of those statistics. She landed the wrong way while going to cage, resulting in a completely-torn left ACL and a half-torn left meniscus.

“I have never went down in a game before, so I knew it was a serious injury as soon as I hit the ground. To validate it, I even heard the famous ‘pop,'” said Hooker.

The thoughts racing through an athletes’ mind when they go down in a game are all over the place. For Hooker, she had no doubt that her life was about to change.

“I heard the pop and I just knew. At that moment, all I kept thinking was that my season was over when it had just begun,” said Hooker. “As soon as the trainer told me he thought it was my ACL, I immediately asked ‘well, can I still play on it?’”

That question quickly got shot down the next day when Hooker saw her doctor, who confirmed that she did tear her ACL and had a partially torn meniscus, which refrains athletes from playing without surgery.

For some athletes, they only care about how their injury is going to affect them and how they are going to handle it. While that was a thought in Hooker’s mind, she also thought much about her team.

“I was nervous for them. I knew I was needed out there and for some reason I didn’t feel bad for myself, I felt bad for my team that I couldn’t be out on that field with them anymore,” said Hooker.

She explains her experience of watching her eventually 3-13 team struggle out on the field as frustrating and miserable. “Not being able to do anything other than try to coach my teammates and talk to them off the field was really hard. Every aspect of this injury is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy,” said Hooker.

Post-surgery is the hardest time for athletes. While that is the time to start rehabbing and get stronger to get back on the field, it is also a mind game. Hooker started physical therapy the day after her surgery to try to get her flexion and extension back in her knee. From then on, she attended physical therapy four times a week for three hours each session. The normal recovery time for an ACL tear is six to 12 months. It is expected that athletes start to lose motivation.

“Right after surgery, I was hopeful. My mindset was that I needed to do everything I could to get stronger and get back better than ever for myself and my team,” said Hooker. “Around five months out of surgery, I lost steam and motivation. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still went to all of my physical therapy sessions and I still worked hard, but I still felt at five months along, I was not going anywhere. I knew I still had months to go, so it became increasingly harder to go through those motions everyday.”

Hooker fought through and nine months after surgery, after almost one year of telling herself “It will be worth it in the end,” she was back. “I just had to keep saying that I didn’t go through 10 months of not being able to play the sport I love for nothing.”

Hooker’s first game back was on Feb. 18, against Quinnipiac University. For someone who usually never got nervous for games, she was terrified. “I felt good and I felt excited, but boy, was I anxious,” said Hooker. “I ended up playing better than I thought I would as I was convinced my nerves were going to consume me. I also always hear stories about athletes coming back and tearing their ACLs again, so I thought that I was going to be cautious and timid with my playing. But, once that whistle blew, I knew I had to make my mark again.”

So she did. By the second game, Hooker took back her spot as a starter and three games into the season, she has one goal and three assists. She feels that trusting the process and trusting that she did everything for a reason really is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.

“My advice to any athlete that may go through an injury like this, is to simply never give up and push yourself. It’s not supposed to be easy.” Hooker’s surgeon always told her something that has gotten her through: “It’s 10 percent what your surgeon does and 90 percent the work you put in after.”

Hooker wants athletes who may find themselves in her position to realize it is just another roadblock and you can and will overcome it.

“This injury will not only make you a stronger athlete, but also a stronger person. It has taught me to make the most of a bad situation and as backwards as it sounds, if this has to happen to you, this injury does have the ability to change you for the better if you let it.”