USU soccer • Senior has scored four goals in 10 games since returning to the lineup.
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Logan • The glass shard that was nearly the last straw for Jennifer Flynn.
The senior had been waiting impatiently on the sideline, thanks to her recovery from knee surgery and pulling her quads in the preseason. Emergency stomach surgery kept her out of action for all but two games in the spring.
When she felt the glass a sliver of a jar that had shattered on the floor slide three inches into her left foot, it was more than just a freak injury. It was the frustrating kicker to a year with an avalanche of setbacks.
"I was just freaking out. I only have so many more games in my entire lifetime," Flynn said. "I was getting my hopes up, so close to play, and then it just kept getting taken away."
That seems so far behind her now. Flynn leads the Aggies (7-5-2, 3-2-0) with four goals in her 10 games back from her injuries. A year that started out rough is turning into a dream season for Utah State's most potent scoring threat.
Call her a good-luck charm. Flynn has scored two game-winning goals against Mountain West opponents Wyoming and UNLV this season. Coach Heather Cairns has been relieved to see Flynn make such a dramatic comeback after starting out the year on crutches.
"She's counting the days down to begin with because it's her senior year," Cairns said. "She's done a really great job of hanging with it mentally."
Flynn is hardly the only Aggie who has missed time this season. The team has seen several season-ending knee injuries paired with the day-to-day bumps and bruises, which led Cairns to jokingly wonder if she'd be able to field a full team.
Flynn, a team captain, made the most of her time on the sidelines, coaching and encouraging from the bench and staying engaged. She also helped out some of the newcomers, who have been used to more minutes as high school stars.
"She brought a little bit of mentorship to the freshmen who weren't used to sitting as much," Cairns said. "She really fought in her first few years to be a starter and play more."
One of those newcomers is her sister, Katie Flynn. Katie, a sophomore transfer from Idaho State, is sitting out this year in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
That was one reason Jennifer wanted so badly to make her return against Idaho State in the Aggies' fifth game of the year her sister couldn't play. Jennifer scored her first goal of the year against the Bengals, a shot from the same foot that she injured weeks earlier.
Jennifer gets one more year with the Aggies, and she gets to spend it with her sister. The season is shaping up to what Flynn had hoped.
"My sister is my best friend, and we're really having a great time spending my last season together," she said. "The team is doing well, and we still have a lot of games to play. It's going great after all."
Year • Senior
Position • Forward
Hometown • Sandy
High school • Juan Diego