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Bracing for another long road to recovery

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Peyton Vincze slides into West Virginia's Mackenzie Aunkst at the OSU vs. West Virginia women's soccer game on September 25, 2020 at Neal Patterson Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Among the sideline of white-clad Cowgirls in Neal Patterson Stadium on Friday night, one player wore street clothes.

Street clothes, and a black knee brace that wrapped around her entire right leg.

The player who looked out of place during the match was OSU redshirt freshman forward Peyton Vincze. She stood with her teammates on the sideline for the entire match to support her team.

Exactly two weeks prior to that event, Vincze suffered an ordeal, which has her teammates hoping to reciprocate that support — a devastating injury.

In the 87th minute of OSU’s Sept. 25th match against West Virginia, Vincze fell to the turf. She was down for several minutes before being helped to the locker room while crying against the pain.

“The way she was grabbing it and the way she was reacting, right when she fell we all kind of knew,” junior midfielder Grace Yochum said.

Although he is not allowed to discuss the exact medical diagnosis, coach Collin Carmichael confirmed it will be a significant setback.

“Peyton won’t be back for the rest of the season,” Carmichael said. “She had a season-ending injury.”

For Vincze, it will be the second season-ending injury that she has suffered in as many years. Twelve days before she joined the Cowgirls for preseason training as a freshman in 2019, she tore her ACL.

Her recent injury came as a gut punch to the entire team.

“It was really sad,” freshman midfielder Grace Dennis said. “Especially since she had just gotten back this year and she had been hurt previously. It was really disappointing to see.”

Misfortune has found Vincze twice in her young college soccer career. She will see both of her first two seasons as a Cowgirl come to a premature end.

“Anytime a kid goes down like that it’s brutal,” Carmichael said. “For Peyton, it’s twice as bad simply because of what she went through (last year) to get back.“

Although it is hard to see a player have to endure the ordeal of a season-ending injury multiple times, the fact that Vincze has scaled the mountain of recovery before provides some hope.

“She is a tough kid,” Carmichael said. “She has been through it before. She knows what it takes, and I don’t doubt that she will get herself in position to get back on the field again.”

Although she will not travel to away games because OSU only travels 22 of its 30 rostered players, Vincze will have opportunities to stay involved.

“The coaches do a really good job of including everyone and making an effort to get (injured players) involved,” Yochum said. “Emotionally you are really low so that is when you need your teammates to step up and support you.”

Yochum, who suffered a season-ending collarbone injury last year, found being around her team as much as possible provided a much welcome escape from the rigors of rehab.

“When I broke my collarbone, being around the team helped me, Yochum said. “I had to be around them. I had to get distracted because otherwise, I would just be thinking about my shoulder.”

Yochum said that the Cowgirls are rallying around Vincze while she goes through this and trying to pick her up.

Though injuries have limited Vincze’s two-year college soccer career to three games, her future as a Cowgirl still sets up well.

Due to the odd nature of this season, NCAA eligibility will not be counted. That protocol allows Vince to, for all intents and purposes, redshirt the year.

ALthough the recovery process will be arduous, the Cowgirls are confident Vincze will return to action soon.

“Love the kid,” Carmichael said. “My heart goes out to her. She is strong. She will come back from it and we will get her back out there as quick as we can.”