We have all seen awe-inspiring moments in sporting events when athletes push through pain and injury for the good of their team or for their own personal triumph. The Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Cup and most recently the PIAA District 1 second round playoffs.
It was last Tuesday when Lower Merion defeated Central Bucks West in the first round that Trevor Yu, a senior midfielder for the Aces, was injured after scoring the second and game winning goal for the Aces moving them to the second round of playoffs.
Yu went down minutes after scoring the game winning goal with about 15 minutes left to play. He was carried off the field and examined by the trainer who quickly saw that it was Yu’s hip flexor that was strained. Within minutes, Trevor was back on the field for Lower Merion, maybe not at full strength but he knew the team needed him, and a limping Yu helped keep the one goal lead and send the Aces to the second round of district one playoffs.
Later that night after the game, Trevor was having trouble even lifting his leg up. He iced and massaged, but the pain would not go away. At practice he took it a bit easier than usual to help recover and be ready for the next day’s game against a tough North Penn team.
A foggy, drizzle-coated night at North Penn would set the stage for this crucial second round playoff game. All the players did their usual pre-game warm up, minus one. Trevor Yu seemed to be testing his leg out before the game. Running and quickly changing direction under the close supervision of a LM coach. You could see a minor limp when Yu walked, but as he ran the limp seem to fade as his determination took the pain away.
The whistle blew to start the game with Yu in the forward position for the Aces. He made a few runs into the North Penn offense but the Aces could not capitalize. As the game went on, the limp got more noticeable, yet Yu stayed in. He was effective in the first half, creating chances and breaking up the North Penn attack. He played all but 10 minutes in the first half.
After the first half, the Aces were down 2-0. A mis-cleared ball lead to a quick shot past Trevor’s twin brother senior goalkeeper Connor who could do nothing to stop the point blank shot. The second North Penn goal came off a questionable penalty kick call when both players went for a head ball in the LM penalty area. The second half began and again Yu was there for the Aces.
Now the limp was even more noticeable on Yu, who would grimace with pain and reach to grab his hip almost every time he walked. Yet still, he made runs into the offensive end, and covered on defense when necessary, won 50/50 balls in the air and on the ground. The only time you could see he was in pain was when he didn’t have the ball. Sheer determination had set in and Yu wasn’t going to be taken out of the game when his team needed him.
Lower Merion’s David Baer scored in the second half to bring the Aces within a goal. Trevor was doing all he could, as were the rest of the Aces who believed they could tie the game. With 10 minutes left in the game, long balls from the Lower Merion defense to the forwards were coming with increasing danger for the North Penn defense. It was now it was clear that Yu was playing in a lot of pain. He was sprinting for the ball every chance he got, with now a severe limp when he ran. At times it seemed like he was struggling to keep himself up, yet he managed to not only stay running, but to tackle the ball hard and create opportunities.
The valiant effort from the Aces wouldn’t be enough to get past a rough North Penn team at the final whistle. This signified the end of the season for the Aces and an end of the high school career for 9 LM seniors, Trevor Yu being one of them.
All through the game Trevor and the Aces played with heart and determination. Yu being in noticeable pain for the 80 minutes he played was an act of courage and determination seldom seen in sports. He pushed through the pain for his team. He produced chances and opportunities, he won tackles and made devastating runs into the offensive end, he left his heart on the field at North Penn, as did every single LM player on this night.
This game showed how heart can overcome pain, how a team who no one really expected much from to exeed all expectations. It showed how the rich history and tradition of Lower Merion Aces Soccer is still strong.