Since the start of the season, Savanah Uveges had next week highlighted on her calendar. Unfortunately, the reason changed drastically.
Originally, the South Elgin soccer star was hoping the Storm would be playing for the Upstate Eight Conference crossover championship and prepping for a long postseason run.
Now, on May 13, Uveges will undergo a second surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament of her right knee. The Nebraska-bound forward puts her trust once again in Dr. Marc Asselmeier from the DuPage Medical Group.
An all-conference choice in both basketball and soccer, Uveges tore her ACL late in the summer prior to her junior year. She returned to soccer in midseason and still contributed eight goals and four assists.
As a freshman, she set the single-season school record for goals with 19, adding four assists. She scored seven game-winning goals. She then broke her own record with 23 goals as a sophomore, adding two assists. Seven of those goals were game-winners.
This year, Uveges had a second-half goal in an April 17 game at St. Charles East — giving her 12 goals and six assists — before a twist of fate.
“I jumped up for a ball and as I took off my knee twisted,” Uveges said. “While I heard a pop it simply felt weird. I really didn’t think ACL, I thought meniscus because I wasn’t in excruciating pain and the pain was on the outside of the knee.
“I figured maybe one month recovery. Even the trainer and an orthopedic doctor who first checked me didn’t think ACL since the pain wasn’t in the back of the knee.”
But it was her ACL. What happens with the surgery remains to be determined.
“I trust Dr. Asselmeier with anything he does,” Uveges said. “Until he gets in there, we won’t know if it was the cadaver graft or some other part that tore. This time we’re going to use a tendon from my patella, which is what Nebraska’s medical staff recommended.”
Ironically, Nebraska coach John Walker called the day after the East game to say he was planning a trip to see her play, and Uveges had to suggest he wait until she would be back in action. But the following Monday, April 21, she learned the diagnosis.
“Since I called back, he and everyone have been nothing but supportive. (Nebraska’s) trainer called offering encouragement and things to do,” Uveges said. “That’s why I’m looking forward to getting on campus (June 6).”
That’s when Uveges — plus St. Charles East’s Amanda Hilton and Geneva’s Michaela Loebel, two more of Nebraska’s 13 newcomers — head to Lincoln for the college’s Summer Bridge program.
Uveges’ initial post-op plan is to be there on the bench for her teammates’ regular-season final and the playoffs, which begin on May 20 with South Elgin as the top seed and regional host facing Larkin.
“That’s my aim, plus I believe this can work out in my favor,” Uveges said. “I know I’ve got the height, but I’m sure Nebraska’s staff will help me not only get back, but even be stronger for when I’ll be able to play again.”