THURSDAY, MARCH 08, 2012
A new threat from Dolphins with Derner’s return
Everybody seems happy Morgan Derner (17) has returned from a knee injury. Play Video
Everybody seems happy Morgan Derner (17) has returned from a knee injury.
There was a sight the JU women’s lacrosse team had been waiting to see for some time in Wednesday’s 19-16 win over Temple when a blur with a number 17 on her jersey cutting in front of the goal waiting for a catch and shoot.

After a frustrating layoff, sophomore attacker Morgan Derner, the nation’s leading freshman scorer last season with 53 goals, was back on the field to give the high-scoring Dolphins another tool with which to work.

“She has a dynamic on the team that is very difficult for our opponents,’’ coach Mindy McCord said. “We had different people step up that hadn’t in the past and when you have multiple threats it’s hard to stop a team. I thought adding Morgan into the dynamic certainly made people pay attention to her which opened up other looks.’’

Derner, from Lake Mary, Fla., is back after rehabbing a meniscus she tore late in 2011 and had surgery on in November.

“It’s extremely frustrating just to watch, but it really motivated me to want to come back sooner and really push myself in rehab and get on the field faster,’’ Derner, who has worked as a public address announcer and statistician in her down time, said.

In addition to her side jobs, Derner spent time studying and learning by watching.

“Sitting out gives you the advantage to learn the game better because you get to watch your teammates and learn from watching,’’ she said. “That’s been beneficial to me.’’

“We’re really excited to have her back,’’ coach Mindy McCord said. “We weren’t sure she’d be cleared this early.’’ Derner spent most of the game working in transition; working herself back in to playing shape.

“I was getting a workout with sprints up and down the field,’’ she said. “I haven’t really had much practice yet but hopefully I’ll get my wind back quickly.’’

Derner’s teammates perhaps were taken aback she returned. She appeared open on several occasions but never got the pass. She took it in stride.

“I don’t think they expected me back so soon and I haven’t really gotten integrated into practice yet so hopefully this next week they’ll start seeing me open and hitting me,’’ she said. “They’ve all been really supportive with my recovery and I really appreciate it.’’

- Jim Nasella