Warriors alumnus Maddie Welliver ends his college career with a league title after a knee injury | News, sports, jobs

Fixed photo Warrior Run alumnus Maddie Welliver holds the MAC Freedom championship crest after Misericordia won the league title this year. Welliver returned to play her final year of eligibility this fall after rehabbing from a torn ACL, LCL, and meniscus in her knee as of 2021.

Unfortunately, Warrior Run alumnus Madi Welliver has had her fair share of injuries to her knee. Following the COVID-19 spring season in 2021, Welliver played summer basketball and tore her ACL, LCL, and meniscus in a minor position.

Because of her past experiences, Welliver knew immediately what had happened to her knee and, more importantly, what it meant to her career.

For someone who grew up loving the game of soccer and playing it her entire life, it has given her a huge curveball in her soccer career. Welliver was one of the best goaltenders in the area in the 2000s and became the all-time girls soccer leading in the state when she graduated with 60 in 2016.

Welliver truly believes that all things happen for a reason, and in this case, that reason was to give her one last chance to play soccer. While some may not want to play after an ACL tear, LCL, torn meniscus and rebuild their knee afterward, Welliver wanted to give her last year of eligibility to roam and leave it on the court.

It resulted in not only Welliver being able to start every game this past fall for Misericordia, but Welliver being part of an NCAA Division 3 Championship team that made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

“Looking back at everything now, I truly believe in the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’, and God’s plans were so much bigger than what I planned for myself,” Welliver said. “Without my injury and my change of plans, I never would have had the chance to play for Misericordia, the #1 ranked team in Division 3, win the MAC Freedom Championship and make a deep run in the NCAA National Championship.”

Welliver and Misericordia came just shy away from making it to the Final Four, but in her own words, this race and her final season that played out the way was something Welliver could not have imagined a year ago.

“After my injury, I felt as though my college football/basketball career was over due to circumstances, but throughout my recovery, I was left with a very strong feeling that I wasn’t finished,” he said. Welliver said. “As an athlete, injuries are always a part of the sport, and unfortunately I’ve had my fair share of the season with, and what seemed at the time, a career-ending injury.”

Welliver admitted that she was a little hesitant at first about going back to school and playing college football again. In June, she sent emails to any college coach who offered the graduate program she was looking for and had an open spot for a fifth year guard on the team. The passion was still within Welliver to play the position she had become so prominent in, and the embers lit up.

“I felt like this was a shot in the dark, given that most schools will be entering the pre-season in just over a month,” he said. Welliver said. “When I emailed trainer (Mark) Stauffer at Misericordia, I was honestly shocked when I got a call the same day. After our conversation, I knew this was the perfect fit for me, and I’m so grateful he was willing to add me to his program.”

Undoubtedly, the Cougars were extremely grateful for Welliver’s presence and her talents. Last fall, Welliver started all 23 games against Misericordia, recording 1,647 minutes. She allowed only eight goals against her, recorded 37 saves with an 0.822 career save percentage, and went 21-1-1 and scored six.

For the former defender goalkeeper, winning the league title was a physical reflection of the hard work and commitment that she and her teammates put in.

“Keeping that championship mark was a moment I will never forget and hard to put into words because everything that has happened over the past year has been more than worth it.” Welliver said.

Welliver has been tested all year round, and she probably has a little fear in the back of her mind every time she dives in or slides to stop a bullet with her knee injuries. But despite that potential fear she might have, Welliver never backed away from a opposing team and Welliver was put to the test as the Cougars played one of the toughest schedules in Division 3.

“I’m really grateful for the success I’ve had, but I know I couldn’t have done it without anyone else,” he said. Welliver said. “This season meant more to me than ever before, and I wanted to give it everything I had, for myself and my teammates.”

Wilfer’s collegiate playing career is over and whether she will play again in the semi-pro or professional ranks remains to be seen. She competed last year in goal with the Williamsport City Lions in their inaugural season. But Welliver does not leave the football game. You will join the Misericordia crew as a trainer and give back to the game in a different role.

“Coaching is something I’ve always enjoyed, as it allows me to stay involved in the sport and influence young athletes. Although I’ve never officially coached a soccer team, I’m excited to learn more about the game and work with top-level athletes,” Welliver said. “This opportunity allows me to continue building relationships with my existing teammates, and to be a small part in building on the Misericordia women’s soccer program.”

So is she nervous about getting into coaching after playing the better part of two decades and making the transition?

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this new role. Most of my focus growing up and going into college was on basketball, both playing and coaching, so I never really got to experience the real playing/recruiting process as a soccer player,” Welliver said. “Knowing that I still have a lot to learn, I am grateful to have Coach Stover as a mentor and excited to learn about the game from a new perspective.”

Unfortunately, injuries can completely derail your career and prematurely end someone’s playing days. For Welliver, her injury simply redirected her trajectory.

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