Women's Soccer

Freshman Kate Hostage succeeding in college 2 years after ACL comeback

Alexandra Moreo | Photo Editor

Three years after her injury, Hostage has appeared in four games as a freshman for Syracuse and scored the game-winning goal against Army.

Tim and Christine Hostage can recall their immediate reactions. Her club teammate Shannon Aviza remembers her falling and screaming “vividly.” They witnessed Kate Hostage plant her foot and drop to the ground, tearing her ACL in 2014.

Hostage herself does not. She blocks it out of her mind.

Her father ran onto the field while Christine pulled up the car that would become the ambulance. Before she was carried off, Tim heard a coach say something.

“Colleges will still want you.”

Given the severity of the situation, Hostage’s father found it odd that someone addressed the distant concern of playing soccer in college. Whether appropriate or not, the statement rang true.
Three years after her injury, Hostage has appeared in four games as a freshman for Syracuse (4-1-1) and scored the game-winning goal against Army. SU coach Phil Wheddon recruited her for her goal-scoring ability and “relentless” approach to the game.

“I don’t necessarily want to dwell on injuries. Unfortunately for women’s soccer in particular the ACL injury is prevalent,” Wheddon said. “It’s commonplace and recovery from those injuries, if it’s done properly, players come back to normal. In Kate’s case she came back better.”

Hostage’s tear was one of three in the span of a few months, her mother said. Hostage called it an “ACL epidemic.”

Surgery was the first step. Afterward, she spent time with physical therapists, gym trainers and teammates in casts, rehabbing back to full health. Her summer weekend trips to Massachusetts beaches with extended family were put on hold as Hostage recovered.

Six months later, she was participating in cutting and contact drills. In 2015, one year later, she returned to the field, still with the concern of playing at the college level on her mind.

“It was hard because when she got injured it was right when colleges were starting to become interested,” Christine, her mother, said. “Then (when) she came back, it was the heart of recruiting time and she wasn’t 100 percent, so she really struggled and she wanted to go out there and perform and impress but it was hard because she was just coming back from her injury.”

Hostage’s father worried about her health from the moment she tumbled to the ground. That was soon “replaced by the stress of watching her play.” Then it became relieving.

In her games back, her father, who has recorded his daughter’s games since she was 10, noticed a more aware player. She suffered at least two concussions and wore head gear until she was 15. Aviza said Hostage was “just very tenacious and she’ll run through people.”

Hostage said she was concerned she would be timid upon her return from surgery, but she felt comfortable after her first slide tackle. The Boston Breakers, her club team, won the 2015 National Premier Leagues Championship. Hostage committed to play at Syracuse, along with Aviza.

Wheddon said he questioned if her offensive game would translate at the collegiate level. He got an answer to his question on Aug. 24. In the 56th minute against Army Taylor Bennett booted a free kick toward the net. An Army defender missed the header and Hostage was there to recover the ball and break the tie. It was the game-winning goal in her first collegiate appearance that she once worried would not come to fruition.

She has since played in every match for the Orange.

The year away provided Hostage a new appreciation for the game, and a goal in her college debut assured her that she belonged.

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