It's not often difficult to pick Stephanie Allen out from a crowd. She's usually the one with the knee brace.
Allen, Lakeside's standout soccer player, injured her right knee multiple times during her high school career.
At times, she wasn't sure how it would affect her goal to play in college.
Her worries were pushed aside last Friday when she signed to play soccer at Presbyterian College.
"I've seen her battle back twice," Lakeside girls soccer coach Nick Edmond said. "And I haven't sensed a drop in her play. That's kind of a testament to her working back and getting strong again."
Allen tore her right anterior cruciate ligament the summer before her sophomore year. She underwent surgery to repair the tear that August, and was out until December.
She attended rehab sessions three times a week and lifted weights to strengthen the muscles around the knee. She was eventually able to run on her own.
This past October, Allen tore her meniscus and had to have the knee scoped in November.
Allen was initially worried how news of the tear would affect her status with Presbyterian, that she might not be able to play or would be redshirted. But all was well with the school.
Allen's relationship with the Blue Hose began with her Columbia United club coach, who also serves as the assistant women's soccer coach at Presbyterian College, in Clinton, S.C.
With her club team, Allen was a defender. At Lakeside, she plays forward. She believes she will probably play her club position at PC.
"I'd like to start next year," Allen said. " (I'm) just (focused on) getting in shape and doing all that I can."
Edmond said PC will be getting someone who can play all over the field. He used her at forward to maximize her touches.
"When we moved her up top was the best for us," Edmond said. "She can play it off everyone else, play it off players and get it back."
Edmond had high praise for his soon-to-be departing senior.
"I would think she could step in to a starting role and be potentially one of the top freshmen in the conference," he said.
File Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lakeside soccer player Stephanie Allen signed Friday to play at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. The Panthers senior, who overcame two injuries to her right knee, was introduced to the Blue Hose through her club coach.\nPhoto by Stephen Fastenau