S. Carroll's Pulis puts aches and pains behind

September 20, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

There were times last year when walking in the South Carroll hallway was a painful adventure for senior goalie Kendra Pulis.

She first noticed problems with her right shoulder when she was taking throws during the second day of practice in her sophomore year.

After, there were dislocations, blackouts from them, cortisone shots and a number of guesses from doctors -- tendinitis and bursitis were a couple.

The final straw came late last season in a game against Westminster when she blacked out after making a save. It wasn't the first time it happened, but the wear and tear of playing soccer finally had caught up with her.

Total reconstruction surgery to tighten the shoulder took place late last December, followed by six weeks in a sling and a rigorous rehabilitation. It made the minor surgery she had on her foot late this summer seem like nothing.

All along, Pulis had one thing in mind.

"I just wanted to be ready for this season," she said. "There were times when I wondered if the [operation] worked and I was afraid I wasn't going to get back. I just kept pushing and pushing myself."

When South Carroll opened its season against county foe Liberty a couple of Fridays ago, Pulis was back in her familiar spot minding the Cavaliers' net. She anticipated being a little more nervous than usual, "like being a freshman and starting all over again," she said.

Three games into the season and the Cavaliers, ranked seventh in the metro area, are perfect. Pulis has been nearly flawless, allowing only one goal to Middletown in between shutting out a pair of metro-ranked teams -- Liberty and Glenelg. Just how much does Pulis mean to the Cavaliers?

"It's not only what she can do in goal, but our defense plays with much more confidence when she's back there. Our defense can take more risks knowing she's back there. It makes a lot of things happen for us," said South Carroll coach Jim Horn.

"She runs the whole show back there. You can hear her yelling instructions at the other end of the field. The other kids also have seen the pain she's played in and everything she's gone through and really respect her for that."

Pulis, a straight A student, has no intentions of playing soccer in college. With the majority of players returning from last year's 10-2-1 team back, she saw there was an opportunity to be part of something special this year at South Carroll.

"It's been very rewarding with everything I've overcome," she said.

"There was a time when I couldn't jump and raise my arm. Now I'm back 100 percent and the confidence is back. This is just something I wanted to prove to myself and some others. I didn't play soccer from November to July, and all that time off was spent thinking about what I want to accomplish this season."

A trip to states and making the all-state team -- something she did as a sophomore -- are the two biggest. At 3-0, the Cavaliers are off to a good start, and by early indications, it doesn't look as if Pulis has had any shoulder problems.

The first big test came late in the Liberty game when she got to a shot by Natalie Hannibal that was headed for the top corner and punched it over the crossbar.

"She told me that was a ball she wouldn't have been able to get to a year ago," Horn said. "She then came back against Middletown and had a similar save. It's nice to see."

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