WOMEN’S SOCCER: Back from ACL tear, Megan Majewski plans ‘to end on my terms’
In the preseason of her senior year, Megan Majewski faced a harrowing reality when she tore her ACL. But Majewski, now a fifth-year defender on the Bemidji State women’s soccer team, is back to health and is ready to make one last run with the Beavers.
BEMIDJI -- In the preseason of her senior year, Megan Majewski faced a harrowing reality when she tore her ACL.
But right then and there, she made a definitive declaration: “I’m not letting an injury take this sport away from me,” she said. “I’m going to end on my terms.”
Majewski, now a fifth-year defender on the Bemidji State women’s soccer team, is back to health and is ready to make one last run with the Beavers.
“This is what I was working for the whole time when I was coming back,” the Burlington, Ill., native said. “Just to be fit -- soccer ready and mentally ready. It feels really special to get the opportunity to do it, and I just want to do the most we can with it.”
In all, it’s been three years since Majewski played in a true season. She watched from the sidelines while injured during 2021, and the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the pandemic. Majewski and BSU did sneak in three official regular season games in the spring of 2021, but the 2019 season was really the last time that Majewski got to compete for something meaningful.
“It definitely has felt super long and drawn-out,” she admitted.
Bemidji State opened a new fall camp this week, though, and Majewski is right there in the thick of things. She’s joined by four other fifth-years in Erin Becker, Megan Dahl, Allyson Smith and Sara Wendt -- a class stocked full of program-changing talent.
“A lot of us wanted to make sure we had four full years to take (the program) to its absolute potential,” Majewski said. “We knew we had a lot of talent, so it’s kind of hard to walk away from a team when you know there’s good opportunities for you and for your team as a whole. … No one really wanted to hang the cleats up quite yet.”
That’s also part of the reason why Majewski wanted to exit college soccer on her own terms. After everything she’s been through, she’ll be even more motivated to squeeze out every ounce she can from this season.
“In some ways, it’s maybe a painful gift sometimes going through an injury and a rehab process,” head coach Jim Stone said. “You really realize what you have when it’s gone. For a player like Megan, it’s even more meaningful.”
‘No year is the same’
The Beavers authored a rich chapter of history in 2021. They reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, which followed an NSIC regular season championship and the program’s first NSIC Tournament finals appearance.
That was last year, though.
“No year is the same,” said Dahl, an All-American defender last season. “We’re not trying to repeat, we’re trying to write our own history as the 2022 team. But obviously, we want to compete for a tournament championship. We want to go further than the Sweet 16, we want to win a national championship. This team will write its own story, so I guess we’ll just have to see where it takes us.”
Stone offered the same forward-focused sentiment.
“I think everyone is bought into and serious about continuing to move things forward and build on the foundation,” he said. “I don’t think the group is complacent, and I don’t think they’re satisfied to put last year on a trophy shelf and stare at it for the next 20 years. Everybody’s all about taking that next step forward and pushing this envelope a little bit further.”
BSU scrimmaged the University of Manitoba on Tuesday, and the team has another exhibition on Aug. 24 against Saint Benedict. The regular season kicks off on Aug. 28 at South Dakota State, and conference play begins on Sept. 9 against Northern State.
And back on the backline is a defender who’s ready to help her teammates as much as they’ve helped her.
“It was hard, but I definitely had good support from this group, both mentally and emotionally. I leaned on them as much as I could,” Majewski said. “I’m just really excited to be back with this group and get out there.”