Sarah Scott wouldn’t be blamed for having mixed feelings regarding Taylor’s 2022 volleyball season.
The Trojans put together one of the most successful stretches in their history, doing so with Scott, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, reduced to the role of spectator.
During the second preseason practice, Scott, a Whiteland graduate, instinctively jumped to attempt a kill the way she had thousands of times before.
“Coming down, I landed on my left foot and slipped. I pretty much knew my season was finished after that,” said Scott, who suspects the mishap might have been caused in part by moisture on the court.
“I tore my (left) ACL and MCL, lateral and medial meniscus, and had impact fractures in my tibia. It all happened at one time.”
As a freshman in 2021, Scott made good on 182 kills and 16 blocks, helping the Trojans finish with a 27-7 mark after dropping a semifinal match to Indiana Wesleyan at the Crossroads League tournament.
Scott, who was chosen for the league’s all-freshman squad, produced 11 kills in the loss, a sign of the promise ahead.
Unfortunately, after undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery last August, Scott had no choice but to commit her time and effort to a rehabilitation process that encompassed most of a calendar year.
She used crutches for approximately a month and a half, her left leg inside a straight brace. Eventually, Scott was able to trade for a hinge brace that allowed her to test her range of motion, with a second surgery last February to remove some scar tissue.
Expectedly, she went through the gamut of emotions — sadness, anger, frustration and, yes, happiness, as the Trojans were winning on the court far more often than not and bolting to a 6-0 start.
Taylor parlayed that into a 31-7 finish, its first league regular-season and tournament titles in more than a decade, and a bid to the NAIA national tournament.
“It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve gone through in my life,” the 20-year-old Scott said. “I’m glad I had so many great people around me. It was a great year of growth, just learning what role you can have even when you’re not on the court.
“I would say I grew spiritually a lot, too.”
Despite key graduation losses, the Trojans are off to a 9-4 start this season. Scott, her left leg covered in a brace from mid-calf to mid-thigh, was third on her team in kills with 131 going into Wednesday’s home match against Spring Arbor.
“Being on the other side now, I see how it’s made me more patient,” Scott said. “I was able to do some non-contact hitting over the summer, which really helped me. I was really excited to get back out there with my teammates because I missed it so much.”
Surely, the feeling was mutual.
Despite not playing last season, Scott was voted as a co-captain with senior middle blocker Chelsea Hurt for the current Taylor squad.
“To be honest, in seven years of coaching, that was my first ACL, and it was really early on,” Trojans coach Erin Luthy said. “It was just really hard to see Sarah go through that, but she’s just such an amazing kid.
“But she’s come back, and was voted as a captain, which shows her leadership and her character. This is just an incredible opportunity for Sarah to shape her story.”