Carrington volleyball players 'are stronger' than last year
The Carrington High School volleyball team is in a tight race for a top-seeding in the Region 3, District 5 standings.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Tough times tie heartstrings — at least that's been the experience for two Carrington High School athletes.
Allison Jarrett and Mya Schroeder, seniors at Carrington High School, sustained ACL tears during the 2021 basketball season. Since their surgeries, the duo has worked together to become strong enough to play volleyball one final season for head coach Megan Trautman.
"Without Mya, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the hardest thing in my entire life," Jarrett said. "Having each other made the process so much better. We had someone to talk to, we had someone to push us and we just had someone that understood.
"We will never know why this happened to us the way it did, but we are grateful," she said. "It’s brought us closer and made us both stronger people."
Jarrett and Schroeder are back on the Cardinals' roster this fall — Schroeder as a libero and Jarrett as an outside hitter and defensive specialist.
The road to recovery was not an easy one to walk for a pair of 17-year-olds.
Jarrett tore her ACL during the Cardinals' game against New Rockford Sheyenne on Dec. 14, 2021.
"I stole the ball and was going down the court for a fast-break layup all on my own," Jarrett said. "I planted with my right leg, then I planted my left leg and it happened."
Jarrett said she felt the pop in her left leg and then felt all of her bones shift out of place and in that moment the then-junior knew her basketball season was over.
Jarrett said that for her type of injury — a torn ACL and meniscus — the recovery time was expected to be nine to 12 months post-surgery. While that time frame would have put Jarrett out of playing contention this fall, Jarrett said she was extremely determined to get back for her senior year.
"Volleyball is my favorite sport," Jarrett said. "I worked as hard as I could and I returned back to volleyball in August, therefore my recovery time was about seven months. I am risking it all by returning to sports early, but it was the choice my parents and I ultimately made."
Jarrett said for her, the physical therapy regimen was very trying due to the fact that she ended up tearing her meniscus in three spots.
"The first six weeks after surgery I was on crutches because my surgeon decided to repair my meniscus instead of just cutting it out," Jarrett said. "I couldn’t put any weight on my leg that whole time so that really set me back. The first three months were me basically learning how to walk and balance again."
During the first three months, Jarrett also had to engage in treatments like the Graston Technique, ice and compression treatment. After those early months, therapists helped Jarrett move on to harder things like squats and jogging and agility work.
"These months were probably the hardest for me," Jarrett said. "It’s very draining mentally when you can’t do things you used to be able to do. I finally started improving more and more. The last three months were strength training in the fitness center on my own. I also started doing single-leg work and sprinting. We focused a lot on decelerating from a sprint considering that’s what caused my injury."
Jarrett said the strength training program included a lot of exercises like isolated quad extensions, hamstring curls, squats, leg press, calf raises and hip abduction. Jarrett said even now, 10 months post-injury, she still has quite a bit of muscle to gain back.
"The main thing I needed to return to volleyball was quad strength," Jarrett said. "Every time Mya or I would go to Fargo to have a knee appointment, they always told us the same thing — our quad wasn’t big enough and we weren’t strong enough.
"I definitely am not as mobile or as fast as I was last year. Having a knee brace and having this injury in general kind of holds me back but in all honesty, I think I have very much surprised myself with how I’m doing," she said. "I’ve adjusted to it and learned how to play with the type of injury I have. I still get much-needed digs and I still put as much effort as I possibly can on the court every day."
Last year, Jarrett played all the way around for the Cardinals and was a force on the outside which helped the Cardinals land a spot in the Region tournament. This season, due to the injury, Jarrett made the decision to try and protect her knee and only play back row because as a defensive specialist, there is less jumping and landing.
"Because of that decision it has let me focus more on my passing and I think it’s better than it has ever been," Jarrett said. "I definitely miss hitting but my teammates already provide amazing hits and kills to the team. I’m just so grateful I get to play again, no matter where I am on the court."
Schroeder had about six months of recovery from surgery until the start of the volleyball season. After surgery, the senior attended physical therapy two to three times per week.
"It was very slow for about the first six weeks, but then it started picking up and progressing forward," Schroeder said. "I had a very good physical therapist and surgeon who knew my goals and helped me achieve them throughout the whole process."
Shroeder said in addition to the time spent in PT, she also engaged in strength training at the gym on her own time. She also worked with the Sanford Power program in Fargo where she would get tested on her progress and show what areas she needed to focus on.
While she was putting in the work and looking to get back in time for volleyball, Schroeder was still recovering some when the season started.
"My initial goal was to be back and to be able to play like I did last year," Schroeder said. "In the beginning, it was difficult for me to accept that I just couldn’t quite move the same ways I could last year and that it was going to take some time. Each game I am getting more and more comfortable with my knee and my ability to reach certain balls I wasn’t able to before."
Even with a knee brace and her "limited mobility" Schroeder has proven she is one of the best liberos in Region 3.
At the Carrington Tournament last weekend, Schroeder recorded her 1,000th career dig in the championship match against Medina/Pingree-Buchanan. The Cardinals wound up winning the tournament which just added to the emotion Schroeder was feeling.
"When I hit this milestone it was very emotional," Shroeder said. "I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be back for the season, so when I reached this goal I’ve had since I was in elementary school I was just very proud of how all my hard work finally paid off."
The Cardinals are currently ranked third in the Region 3, District 5 standings at 3-2 while in Region 3 they are sitting at 4-1. Overall, Carrington is 22-6. The squad's next test is scheduled to come on Tuesday at home against Griggs-Midkota. Both Jarrett and Schroeder said the Cardinals' overarching goal is to emerge out of the 2022 prep volleyball season as the District 5 and Region 3 champs.
Jarrett said playing in the state tournament has been a dream of hers ever since she began playing volleyball which consequently was around the last and only time the Cards have made it to the state tournament. Carrington's lone state tournament appearance came in 2013.
"We’ve been doing very well lately and feel as if we are starting to peak at the right time and growing closer," Jarrett said. "The girls I play with are some of the most genuine people I know. They always have my back and I always have theirs. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us."