O'FALLON — O'Fallon senior forward Lauren Knight suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the Panthers' victory over Belleville West on Tuesday in a Class 3A O'Fallon Regional semifinal.
O'Fallon, playing without Knight, was eliminated from the tournament Friday in a loss to Collinsville. Knight will miss the fall season at Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.
"I think it's finally set in now that I know the actual details," said Knight, who had 24 goals and six assists for the Panthers. "But I've talked to (Florida Gulf Coast) coaches and it seems like they'll get me stronger than ever. I'm ready to just take it one day at a time.
"I've heard it's a common thing; it happens all the time. Almost everyone gets through it. I looked online and there's a 95-percent success rate, so I'm confident I'll be fine."
Knight suffered the injury in the second half as she raced for a bouncing ball with a West defender. Knight collapsed to the turf and could be heard writhing in pain.
"As soon as it happened, it was something new to me and I thought something was wrong," said Knight, who soon will undergo surgery. "I thought it would be probably my ACL. The feeling was so abnormal for me. I didn't hear the pop that everyone says you hear, but I was also screaming.
"Soccer is a contact sport. When things like this happen, it's not intentional. It's part of the game. I put my leg out and we just hit knees. It just twisted the wrong way."
Knight said she's handling the disappointment of the injury as well as can be expected.
"I haven't been a complete emotional wreck, but it has taken a toll," she said. "I've had a lot of support. My team's been great, my parents have been great, my friends have been great. That really helps to know everything is going to be fine if I take one day at a time."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.