The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 24, 2013

Sobczak's road to recovery ends in goal

GAC goalie gets first start since horrific 2012 crash

Marah Sobczak probably shouldn’t have been starting in goal for the Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey team on Saturday afternoon.

She probably shouldn’t have been in a pair of skates. She’s fortunate to be back going to school at Gustavus.

“She’s a determined young lady,” her mother, Robin Sobczak said. “She doesn’t do things 100 percent; with her it’s always 150 percent. She did this to prove to herself that she could come back.”

Fifteen months ago, doctors didn’t know if Sobczak would walk again — or if she’d even live.

But there she was, stopping 12 of 13 shots, playing steady enough in a close MIAC game at the Don Roberts Ice Rink to help the sixth-ranked Gusties defeat Hamline 4-1.

“Obviously, it’s a miracle that she’s even out for hockey,” Gusties coach Mike Carroll said.

This was no charity case, either. Sobczak, a senior, deserved the start, Carroll said. She’s been practicing well this fall and looked good in a couple of relief opportunities this season, including 6 1/2 minutes of action on Friday night.

“It felt good playing start to finish and helping the team win,” Sobczak said.

If it were only that simple.

On Aug. 28, 2012, Sobczak was driving on Highway 5 in Lake Elmo toward home to Stillwater after a shopping trip with her sister Kalley when an oncoming car crossed into their lane and caused a high-speed, head-on collision.

The sisters were critically injured with broken legs and bones and other internal injuries and underwent several surgeries in the days following the crash. There were countless hours of rehabilitation and physical therapy in the months afterward.

“That first night in the hospital, they couldn’t tell us if (Marah) was alive,” her mother, Robin Sobczak said between periods Saturday. “After a week in the hospital, they couldn’t tell us if she would ever walk.”

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