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Preece making her second soccer comeback

New Richmond's Alli Preece (left) is shown in the Tigers' sectional playoff victory over River Falls last June. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The scene was etched in the mind of New Richmond soccer fans.

After the loss in the WIAA Division 2 sectional championship game to Pulaski last June, Tiger Alli Preece had to be helped by two teammates across the field to the school bus. In the first half, Preece had suffered the second major injury in two years.

Fast forward 10 months. Back on defense for the Tigers is Preece, with the senior being one of the tri-captains for the 2018 Tigers.

The injury last season was to her left knee. The injury that robbed Preece of her sophomore season was to her right knee. There are major surgical scars down the front of each knee.

The first injury needed a longer recovery, because Preece also damaged her meniscus. She spent the first six weeks of the rehab process on crutches, saying the entire recovery took 13 months. With the second injury, she was able to start rehabbing quickly from the July 6 surgery. Preece said the experience of the first recovery made the second one easier, in knowing what her physical limits were and what pain she knew would be part of the normal recovery process.

"I'm back sooner than (the doctors) want me to come back," Preece said.

She said both of the injuries robbed her of some of her speed and she is working hard to get back to 100 percent. Preece said she feels she's still tentative on the knee because of the injury but thinks that worry should fade quickly.

Battling through two major injuries has taught Preece a great deal about herself.

"I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. It's really painful, but that's not the hardest part. Pain is temporary," she said.

Preece is New Richmond's female senior scholar-athlete honoree. She plans to attend St. Thomas University, with the goal of majoring in political science and Spanish, and possibly a minor in communications. She said she'd someday like to become a college professor.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for more than 30 years.

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