After struggling last season, JMU field hockey is currently 2-2 to start the 2019 regular season. One of the biggest highlights this season is the return of redshirt senior forward/midfielder Miranda Rigg.
Last year, an injury ended Rigg’s season after five games. With the recovery process finally over, she’s back on the field and focused on helping the Dukes win.
“Coming out of surgery is always a different process for everyone,” Rigg said. “My main goal was to just stay healthy and get healthy again.”
Head coach Christy Morgan noticed how the injury affected Rigg during the rehabilitation process. She noticed the disappointment Rigg dealt with early because she thought Rigg believed she was letting her teammates down.
“Once she realized she really is doing a justice to herself and her team by getting the surgery so that she can have a full year at her top level,” Morgan said, “I think she settled in and started to focus on what she could control rather than what she couldn’t control.”
While on the sidelines, Rigg’s presence was felt during practices and games. She served as a coach and helped give insight to her teammates.
Junior midfielder Rachel Yeager acknowledged how Rigg hated not being able to compete; she said Rigg brought her knowledge and called her a natural-born leader. She mentioned how Rigg helped when she took over the role of the inserter, a position that was new to her.
“I think she probably has one of the best hockey IQs on the team, and she utilized the sideline approach to really just teach everybody else the different spaces, the different options they can do … I think she really grew our team,” Yeager said.
During her absence, Rigg said her vision, as well as her drive to work on her stick skills, improved. She also got a different perspective by seeing plays happening in-game and sees that as an advantage.
Morgan said the whole process gave Rigg a better understanding of the game. She can recognize more ways to help her teammates on the field, as well as bringing a consistent good energy every day.
With her return, she joins a young core that struggled to make the CAA Tournament last season. Yeager said she’s glad to spend another year with Rigg.
“She knows so much about hockey, she lives the sport,” Yeager said. “She’s so aware and knows what to do. I think having her come back, we were all so excited and have her back on the field, and playing with her is so much fun. We all love playing with her and working off of her.”
Rigg’s first time back on the field for full contact came in the spring. She said participating in a spring game was “super exciting” and “kind of surreal”, because she wasn’t supposed to be back.
Since being fully cleared, Rigg has appeared in JMU’s first three games this season. In the first three games, she played a total of 219 minutes, scoring three goals and seven points on seven shots on goal.
“It’s just awesome,” Rigg said. “Super excited, I mean, just to be back on the field with the team and just creating opportunities like that for the team is just what I love. I love to win; I love to score for this team.”
Finally healthy, Rigg is set to play the entire season. Morgan said she would be held back if it’s necessary. Rigg’s goal in her final season is to be the best teammate she can be.
“I think one of my main goals as a captain is just being the best leader and supportive teammate I can for this team,” Rigg said. “Just being there for my teammates, creating opportunities on the field and just being a helping hand for them off the field.”
Contact Jason Clampitt at email@example.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.