The Atlantic City High School girls lacrosse team was fresh off a dominant 17-5 win against Oakcrest on Wednesday.

Coach Brad Sorensen called it a huge win for the third-year program.

It was the Vikings’ first win against Oakcrest, a team he considers on that next tier of competition they compare themselves with each year.

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The victory was also special for Atlantic City junior Isabella Turner, who wasn’t sure if she would be on the field in the early weeks of the lacrosse season.

She missed most of her sophomore season in lacrosse and her junior season in field hockey after she injured her right knee in a lacrosse game last April.

On Wednesday, with a bulky brace protecting the knee, the defender ran the length of the field and scored her first goal of the season.

“I’m having so much fun this season,” said Turner, 17, of Margate.

The Vikings are 2-4, their other win having come against Our Lady of Mercy Academy.

They didn’t earn their second win of last season until their 11th game.

Their next game is Wednesday at Egg Harbor Township, another Cape-Atlantic League team in that next tier that the Vikings aspire to reach.

“With that victory (against Oakcrest), it showed we’re taking the program in the right direction,” said Sorensen, who started the program as a club team six years ago.

A long rehab

It was a simple play last April 25.

Turner was running back to play defense when a Middle Township player tripped over her foot.

Turner, in an attempt to avoid stepping on the fallen Middle player, took an awkward step and seriously injured her right knee.

Turner tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and meniscus.

“I honestly didn’t think it was going to be a bad injury,” Turner said. “It was one of those things I thought wouldn’t happen to me. It really didn’t hit me until I was driving up to the next game and I couldn’t play.”

Turner missed the remainder of the season and had surgery May 27.

Rehabilitating a knee injury, especially one as severe as Turner’s, is difficult, and sometimes frustrating. She couldn’t put any pressure on it after surgery, and because her muscles were so weak, it felt as if she had forgotten how to walk.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Turner said. “I was in bed for four months, and then all of a sudden you have to start walking. Something so simple, and I couldn’t.”

It was tough being on the sidelines during field hockey season last fall, Turner said.

After that, Turner set a goal to be in the Vikings’ starting lineup at the start of the lacrosse season.

She remembers being nervous during her first scrimmage because she hadn’t played since the injury.

She put that doubt behind her.

“She shouldn’t have been back until the end of April,” Sorensen said. “She worked hard in rehab to be cleared before the season started. Her facing adversity will only make her better, make her strong and be a lesson she can use in life.”

Turner is one of Atlantic City’s top defenders and most experienced players, having played lacrosse since she was in fifth grade.

Her older sister, Georgia, graduated from Atlantic City last year and is on the women’s lacrosse team at NCAA Division II Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

Isabella Turner said she may not pursue a collegiate lacrosse career. Knowing that motivated her even more to get back to the field so she could make the most of the rest of her high school career.

“I appreciate everything, all of the support I’ve gotten from my teammates and my family,” she said. “It’s an amazing feeling to finally be playing again.”

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Contact:

609-272-7210 JRusso@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPress_Russo

I graduated from Rowan University in 2011 where I studied journalism. I covered local high school and college sports at the South Jersey Times and Vineland Daily Journal. I have been a sports reporter with The Press since July of 2013

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