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Stopped By Nothing

Stopped By NothingAfter a year on the sidelines, Tufts sophomore Cara Cadigan is breaking both records and expectations on her way to becoming the top scorer in the soccer team's history.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.09.07] Soccer player Cara Cadigan is back in the game-in a big way. After only one season of play, the Tufts sophomore has broken the women's soccer team's 26-year-old record for most single-season goals, scoring nearly half the team's goals this year and leading the Jumbos into the NCAA Tournament. This would be an achievement under any circumstances, and it's all the more impressive given what Cadigan has had to overcome.

After being named Northeastern Conference Player of the Year during the spring of her senior year at Swampscott (Mass.) High School, Cadigan tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. The injury sidelined her for more than seven months.

"Hearing that pop-I don't know. I'd rather have heard a snap. I'd rather have heard it break than that," Cadigan told The Boston Globe. The recovery time for a broken leg, she pointed out, would have only been about six weeks. The ligament tear would force her to miss her entire freshman soccer season at Tufts.

Despite not being able to play, Cadigan wanted to stay connected to the game. Coach Martha Whiting made sure of it by recruiting her to become the team's scorekeeper.

"I wanted to do something with the team," she explained to the Globe. "And if I was going to go to the games and watch anyway, it would be fun to get to know the players too."

The job turned out to be more than just a way to get acquainted with the team. From the sidelines, Cadigan had a chance to watch the team objectively, taking note of how its members worked together.

"You get a different perspective," she told the Globe. "I noticed how the midfield was really quick in transitioning the ball to the forward, which was one of the key parts to why I score. I also realized that the whole team has good ball work."

Scorekeeping was a learning experience for Cadigan, but also a tease. "Sitting there watching the game made me want to play every game. It made me realize what I was missing, and it made me want to get better faster so I could get out there," she explained to the Globe.

When the time finally came to return to the field during tryouts for her sophomore season, Cadigan told the Globe she "was happy just to play." She added, "I was just hoping to make the team."

Cadigan not only made the team, she then went on to break the record for goals scored in a single season. Through the Nov. 3 NESCAC matchup against Bowdoin, Cadigan had scored 17 goals, surpassing Lisa Raffin's 15-goal record that has stood for the past 26 years. She has more than twice as many points as the team's second-place scorer, logging four multi-goal games this season and twice earning the NESCAC Player of the Week award.

After a tough loss on Nov. 3 to Bowdoin, the Jumbos have earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. They finished the season with a 12-3-1 record, going 7-2 in NESCAC.

For Cadigan, breaking records isn't the only benefit of being on the team. "Your team's like your family at school," she said to the Globe. "They're always around. It's like another whole group of friends. You know that someone's always going to be there if you need them."

For the team, the feeling is mutual. "What impresses me the most about Cara is her composure around the goal," Whiting told the Globe. "She is super quick and crafty with the ball. She makes great decisions on the field. To top it off, she's just a great kid and is fitting in really nicely with the rest of the team."

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