Injury proves test of time, patience Soccer: Baltimore's Laurie Schwoy, still recovering from a hamstring she hurt last fall, has scored seven goals in seven games in her return for top-ranked and unbeaten North Carolina.

October 03, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

After losing months to her first serious injury, Baltimore's Laurie Schwoy is back starting for North Carolina's vaunted women's soccer team. But she still is coping with lingering pain that earlier this year was so severe she considered quitting.

"I was limping everywhere. I couldn't even sit for more than 20 minutes, the leg ached so much," said Schwoy, a junior midfielder for the No. 1 Tar Heels (8-0-0) and U.S. national team prospect.

"It got so bad in January that I was ready to pack it all up and go home."

The injury during a game late last fall to her right hamstring cost her the final third of the season and a playing role in the Tar Heels' national championship.

"They're telling me now the pain will probably never go away totally," said Schwoy, who was one of the nation's top college recruits three years ago out of McDonogh. "But it is starting to get better."

After what her mother, Annette, described as the frustration of "months of seeing doctors, X-rays and MRIs [magnetic resolution imaging tests]," Schwoy is on a regimen of weight-lifting, stretching and massage. The exact injury is still unclear.

The injury cost her time with the U.S. Under-20 women's team in Europe this summer, important for a young player who aspires to be a national-team regular. And she is still not a full-time player for the Tar Heels.

But what a return she has made from being hardly able to walk. A play-making midfielder in her first two Carolina seasons, she has exploded offensively, building on where she left off last season.

Carolina coach Anson Dorrance started her at forward early this season, with finisher-supreme and national-team prodigy Cindy Parlow. Her ability to run more increasing, Schwoy has dropped back recently to attacking midfield, her preferred spot, from which she can help orchestrate the offense.

In the seven games she's played so far, she has scored seven goals -- including three two-goal games -- and assisted on another. She was last week's Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week in women's soccer.

Schwoy started the season playing just 20 minutes a game but pTC said she's playing for about 30 first-half minutes now and almost that amount in the second halves.

Having represented the United States several times on youth teams, Schwoy played in her first full international match for the U.S. women's team against Italy last July at RFK Stadium in Washington, an experience she'll never forget.

Her goal, she said, is "to get healthy and stay healthy" for the rest of Carolina's season and then try making the national team ** for next year's third Women's World Cup.

She's been told she will be invited to train at the national team's resident camp in Florida starting in January, if she's fit. The college has agreed. The national team will pick its World Cup squad during 19 tune-up games before Cup play begins in June.

Pub Date: 10/03/98

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