East sophomore battles back from major injuries
April 4, 2013 at 5:05 a.m.
Updated April 3, 2013 at 11:04 p.m.
Victoria East and Flour Bluff may be mirror images of each other on the soccer field. The teams are similar, their styles of play are compatible and both squads are aware of the other's personnel.
With so much in common, any minute detail might determine which school is victorious in Thursday's Class 4A sectional soccer game.
Enter Lydia Bast.
The sophomore midfielder missed the Jan. 12 contest between the two with a severe concussion sustained playing club soccer in December. With a smile, Lydia said the details of the incident are "really fuzzy."
Her mother, Kris, said a ball was kicked in Lydia's direction, she turned, but the ball hit the back of her head.
Kris Bast and her husband, Jeremiah, are aware that their oldest daughter loves the sport, and they try not to get in the way.
After all, it was her father who introduced her to the sport when she was 4 years old.
"At the end of a game, whether they win or lose, she just loves it," Kris said. "Especially now that she's older, it's a release. Any stress that she has heading out on the field is done. It's her way to release any tension and aggravation. I like to watch her play because it makes her happy."
The only restriction they have put on their daughter is to wear the protective headgear in practice and games. It's the same piece of protection that makes her stand out on the field because the 21 other players are typically not wearing one.
Throughout her recovery, Bast said her teammates were there to offer encouragement, even if they have given her a nickname because she wears a headgear to lessen the impact of blows to the head and a brace on her right knee.
"It's only strengthened my love for the game to realize I can come through several injuries and still want to play all the time," Bast said. "It's my stress relief and I go to it when I'm worried about things."
The knee brace is for another serious injury Bast has overcome.
She tore the ACL in her right knee in eighth grade.
She was cleared to return to soccer in October 2011, and was trying out for Victoria East a month later. Though Boenig placed her on the junior varsity, she was well aware of Bast's determination to take the field.
"It's tough. I know how hard Lydia works," Boenig said. "She is one of those kids who does not stop. No matter how much adversity she goes through she won't stop."
The sophomore is versatile enough to play anywhere in the midfield for the Titans (19-5-1). In a game where both teams are similar, Bast proves to be a bit of an unknown.
"It's a huge game. I am very excited," said Bast, a sophomore midfielder for East. "We've never made it this far with our team in previous years. It's exciting to compete for sectionals."
Weeks after making the varsity team, the concussion sidelined Bast for nearly two months. Her first action with the Titans was in a Feb. 8 victory over Rockport-Fulton.
"So many nerves," Bast recalled about her first varsity action in Rockport. "I was watching how great they came along and I was excited to participate in it. I was a bundle of nerves that I would mess up, but it turned out for the best."
Since Bast's varsity introduction, East has won 11 of 12 games. She has played in all 12 contests, providing cover for each of the Titans three midfield positions.
East coach Misty Boenig said Bast has improved in controlling the ball and picking out a pass over the last year. Not coincidentally, those are two of the strengths of the Titans' midfield this year.
"That's why it's always important to have a back up for anyone on the field," Boenig said. "She has been able to step up and give (our midfield) a break. If something should happen, I have complete confidence she can get the job done."