Bielefeld knows agony of victory Hammond senior plays with pain

September 26, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Until her freshman year at Hammond, Liz Bielefeld had never broken a bone. In fact, she never suffered an injury in her first five years playing club soccer.

"In middle school, I always talked about how I had never broken anything," she said. "Then I broke my wrist and it just never stopped. Now, it's just something always hurts."

It all started with the broken wrist during her freshman season. Then, a broken ankle and surgery the next spring slowed her down the next fall. As a junior, she suffered through a nagging nerve problem in her hip and a stress fracture of the foot.

Hammond soccer coach Dave Guetler chalks up her injuries to the intensity of her play. "When you get tackled by Liz Bielefeld, you know it. Liz doesn't back down from anybody. She thinks she's got to get the ball and she does."

Incredibly despite the injuries, Bielefeld still has managed to see a good bit of action each season.

She always wants to play, said Guetler. "She's the kind of player -- it's like a joke -- 'Liz, are you OK?' 'I'm fine.' Then you see her limping. She says, 'I'm OK,' but she can hardly walk. I've never heard her ask to come out of a game. I have to take her out."

So far this season, there's been nothing serious, although Bielefeld is nursing minor pulls in both quads. Guetler has his fingers crossed, because the No. 2 Bears need Bielefeld's talents.

Although she has played in the midfield the past couple of seasons, Bielefeld runs at stopper most of the time now. Guetler moves her up from time to time to give the Bears some added push on offense.

With a great shot and excellent placement, Bielefeld takes all of the Bears' direct kicks, corner kicks and penalty kicks.

Guetler said if Bielefeld had been healthy most of the time, she might have wound up on a par with her All-Metro teammates Kacy Williams and Kisha Jett.

"It has to be disappointing for her," said Guetler. "Liz is a very good player. I don't think she ever developed the way she could have or earned the respect of other coaches because of so many injuries."

Guetler said even Bielefeld herself doesn't realize how good she Last year, however, she got a good indication when she earned a spot on the state Olympic Development team.

Now honing her skills in club ball with the Columbia Chargers under-19 squad, Bielefeld began playing soccer on an Owen Brown boys team when she was 9 years old. She advanced to a travel team, and then made it to the Chargers, who compete in the Premier Division of the Washington Area Girls Soccer League.

Between the Bears and the Chargers, she plays soccer six to seven days a week. Soccer ranks as her favorite sport and she hopes to play in college.

She has come a long way from that 9-year-old who wasn't too thrilled about soccer. "My parents made me play," said Bielefeld, "but it's probably good that they made me. Now, I love sports."

She and her sisters Emily, 13, a freshman on the Bears' varsity; Martha, 11; and Jacqueline, 9; have tried swimming, tennis, gymnastics, soccer and basketball among other sports.

Now, Bielefeld, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average, hopes to draw the attention of a few college coaches. Although Guetler said Bielefeld could play Division I soccer, she wants to play in Division II.

"I don't want everything to be soccer, soccer, soccer and nothing else. I want to be more well-rounded. I don't want to have to focus so much on soccer that I can't do anything else. I want it to be fun," said Bielefeld, whose interests include theology and archaeology.

She also knows that her long list of injuries might discourage some coaches although a strong senior season could overcome those doubts.

"I don't worry about it," said Bielefeld. "I just try to play my game and try not to think about it."

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