Girls soccer: Kaylee Pullins returns, sparks Vikings victory
By Candace Buckner Post-Tribune correspondent August 21, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:26AM
VALPARAISO — Valparaiso senior midfielder Kaylee Pullins picked a good time to make her return to the field. Although an injury during a preseason soccer scrimmage relegated Pullins to a walking boot through Valparaiso’s first three games, she made her debut Tuesday night against Chesterton and ignited the 4-0 win.
“I’m just excited, I just came back from an injury,” an emotional Pullins said, explaining why tears filled her eyes after the game. “So to win it was just great.”
In the 14th minute of the game, a Valparaiso (3-1-1) conference win began to materialize as Pullins, showing no hindrance from the bum ankle, rushed the left side of the field. Pullins sent a ball toward sophomore Grace Withrow who nailed it to the corner of the net.
“The girls came out and they really exploded,” Valparaiso coach Rob Cespedes said. “They did a great job finding and connecting on passes, working off each other and communicating. All those great things that go along with great play.”
Senior Andrea Violanti doubled the score on a free kick in the 32nd minute and Valparaiso — efficiently attacking for four goals on six shots — gripped control of the game.
“This was a big emotional game,” Chesterton coach David Galloway Sr. said. “I thought we got through that but it was the let down (from) that emotion and we never got back into rhythm after that.”
In the second half, Pullins outhustled the Chesterton defense and beat senior keeper Alex Bucko in a one-on-one challenge. The celebration of her first goal of the season was short lived as Pullins crumbled to her knees. Although Pullins hobbled off the field, she later returned to action.
“I just play with heart. I give it everything I have,” Pullins said. “I just cannot sit on the sidelines. Grin and bear it, I guess. You don’t show that you’re in pain. You just keep going.”