Manchester Essex Hornets Girls Soccer '07

Manchester Essex Regional High School junior Lauren Green is a star defensive player on the soccer field who often plays hurt. » Deborah Hammond, Staff Photographer

One tough Hornet

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Thursday, August, 30 By Nick Curcuru

Most soccer players would sit out for at least a couple of games if they had knocked the joint out of their knee. But Manchester Essex midfielder Lauren Green is not like most soccer players.

Green knocked the joint out of her knee last season when she was slide-tackled by an opposing player. Instead of sitting out the rest of the game, as most doctors would've probably advised her, she wrapped up her knee and went back on the field.

"I just wanted to be on the field to help us win," Green said.

In fact, the reason Green sat out for a couple of minutes after suffering the injury wasn't due to pain. She had to sit out because she was bleeding, but she returned to action as soon as her knee was adequately wrapped.

In addition to knocking the joint out of her knee, Green has suffered sprained ankles, shin splints and numerous bumps and bruises during her time at Manchester Essex. Yet, the junior has managed to play in every game during her Hornets career.

It's that type of toughness that makes Green one of the top players on the Hornets roster this season and gets her praise from Manchester Essex head coach Keith Gray. "When she gets hurt she will just shrug it off and continue to give 110 percent," Gray said. "She always wants to be on the field."

Green cites her passion for the game of soccer as the reason for playing through physical adversity.

"I really love to play soccer," said Green, who is a 16-year-old school choice student from Salem. "I just try to keep going under all circumstances."

Playing through pain is not the only strength Green possesses. The junior has been playing varsity soccer since she was a freshman, and is touted by Gray as being as talented as she is tough.

"Lauren playing at 80 percent is better than most players playing at 100 percent," said Gray, who is in his fifth season at Manchester Essex. "She is a very talented, very solid player."

Gray is also quick to point out what a luxury it is to have someone like Green on the roster. She is primarily a midfielder, but she is sometimes asked to play striker or defense.

"Her versatility is incredible, she can play anywhere on the field and will easily go wherever she is needed and play well," Gray said. "Laura is also very aggressive. She is always around the ball and has an unbelievable sense of where she is on the field."

While her toughness and skill grab the attention of her coach and teammates, Green takes the most pride in her leadership.

"I love talking with the team and keeping them in high spirits," Green said. "I try to keep them going when times are tough, and when we are playing well."

As a team, the Hornets are coming off of a disappointing 1-17 campaign in 2006. However, Manchester Essex graduated only four players and return what Gray refers to as a "great nucleus."

"I am really excited for this season," Gray said. "We have a ton of returning players and a lot of reasons to be optimistic."

Meanwhile, Green believes that the Hornets' chemistry will be vital to their success this season.

"As a team we are all friendly with each other and play well together," Green said. "There are a bunch of girls that have really stepped up so far."

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