Texas Tech soccer’s senior defender Margaret Begley earned her first minutes of playing time this year against Denver on Aug. 17 after suffering back-to-back injuries, that prevented her from playing in the last two seasons.
The pregame matchup marked Begley’s first appearance of her senior year and allowed her to get back into a game she was absent from for two years.
In her first season with the Red Raiders, she appeared in 17 games and only attempted a single shot in her freshman season, according to Tech Athletics.
After only starting one game in 2015, Begley started in 12 games while appearing in all 20 matches for the Red Raiders in her sophomore season, according to Tech Athletics. With 1,268 total minutes on the field in 2016 and her performance in the classroom, she was named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
Following her sophomore season, Begley was redshirted due to back-to-back injuries involving her right ACL resulting in a total of 21 months of rehabilitation, hindering her from playing any games for two straight seasons.
“I think with Margo (Begley) we take it game-by-game and half-by-half,” head coach Tom Stone said. “I think she is a natural outside back, we don’t have any problems playing her in the middle of the field. She got some time against DU we are excited about it and we are thrilled with her. She is another example of by the end of the year we are going to need her we are going to count on her, but she is going to work her way through it and her confidence is always high so I know that will happen fast for Margo (Begley) but at the same time she is patient and so happy to be on the field and we are so happy see her.”
The inability to be on the field playing took a toll on Begley mentally as she said it caused fear and doubt to creep into her mind. Begley said her team’s support and her love for soccer helped her be determined to get back onto the field.
“There was one point where I had maybe three months of rehab left and I was like not sure if I was getting stronger anymore,” Begley said. “Watching the girls play soccer, it was so physical so if I get thrown out there and I don’t know if I can handle that. But it just takes getting on the field to have confidence. There were six or seven of us that have had ACL’s too so honestly they were a lot of mental support.”
Despite being sidelined, Margaret cheered on her teammates and could relate to the women who have suffered from the same injuries, senior defender Gabbie Puente said. Puente continued to say Begley’s support and encouragement while she was injured helped the team.
“When Margaret (Begley) encouraged the girls on the field, we really just feel like a team so then it makes girls want to play even harder for those who aren’t on the field,” Puente said. “She just encourages the team to be a team.”
After sitting out with an injury for two-straight years, Begley said it was rewarding to finally get back on the field as she earned her first minutes of playing time against Denver.
“It was really rewarding thinking back on like the two years that I sat out and watched and cheered and it was like it’s finally my time to be on,“ Begley said.
Begley and her teammates will compete at 7 p.m. on Friday against Abilene Christian University for the third home game of the season.