Every year Marty Martinez has been the head coach at East the Blades have won 20 or more games. Easy job right? Not so fast. "We call it the season of adversity," Martinez said. "Had a lot of injury-a lot of graduation (this year)." Adversity that started last year when they fell in the DIII valley title game to Liberty of Madera.
"We knew that it was just in our mind to get back to where we were last year," said senior forward Emily Teutimez.
A return trip was all but booked until they fell behind in this year's semi-final against Hoover. "We were done and she scored with four minutes left did everything that we asked," said Martinez.
Teutimez came through with the tying goal at just the right time. "I just jumped and I screamed. It was just the best feeling ever that we were back in it." The goal sent the game to overtime and then to a penalty shootout which East won to secure their rematch with Liberty.
But back to Emily's goal. A story of resiliency, determination and fight; words she knows all about. Last year while East was playing in a valley final, Emily was on the sidelines.
"She didn't take it negative," said senior forward Odalys Espinoza. "She just helped us through it."
Before the season even started Emily tore her ACL, an injury that would sideline her for the entire season. "It was hard on me," she remembered. "It was hard on my dad, my dad's a really big supporter of me and when we found out we just cried together."
And while she recovered physically she then faced mental hurdles, having to trust that her leg was back to 100% and that it wouldn't tear again. After four game winning goals this year, it's safe to say she's completely healed.
"When you tear your ACL you can check out if you want," said Martinez. "She never checked out, she's always been pushing."
Emily and East's final test comes Friday night at 7:00 P.M. when they will travel to Madera to face #1 seeded Liberty.
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