Hartford’s Prior Puts Knee Injury in His Lacrosse Past

  • Madeleine Wallace

  • Patrick Potter

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 6/23/2018 11:39:12 PM

Hanover — After Kyle Prior tore his ACL, MCL, patella tendon and meniscus during a lacrosse game 14 months ago, his right leg needed significant restructuring. The same can be said for his dream of becoming a college athlete.

The recent Hartford High graduate’s hopes, though altered, are still alive following the Byrne Cup Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games on Saturday at Hanover High School.

Prior, who switched positions — from midfield to goalkeeper — after his extensive injury, played in the net in the second half for a Vermont squad that lost, 19-7, to New Hampshire in rainy conditions at Merriman-Branch Field.

Once a field player, Prior gravitated toward tending net during his rehabilitation.

“I knew I was going to be limited in what I could do right after, because I was cutting it close for recovery time,” said Prior, who hurt his leg at Stratton Mountain School early in his junior season. “It’s like nine months to a year to fully recover, so I thought I won’t have to move, I won’t have to run a whole lot as a goalie.”

Prior, who underwent a pair of operations three months apart, approached Hurricanes coach Bill Elberty in November about taking on a new challenge. By February, the aspiring netminder was working out multiple times a week before school with Hartford coaches.

Prior — one of two Vermont goalies selected to this year’s Byrne Cup squad — has clearly taken to his new role.

“His attitude; the guy does everything right,” Elberty said. “The guy does everything right. Goalie is a very coachable position, but it’s also a position in which you are incredibly vulnerable, so you have to be mentally and emotionally tough and then very precise, but very explosive. For him to capture all of that in one short season is incredible. … He’s been noticed on the college level.”

Prior was recruited by Husson University, where he hopes to suit up for the Eagles. Although playing at the next level was always a goal for the former Hurricane, he thought it would be realized in a different sport — soccer.

“I knew I wanted to play a sport in college and kind of realized that this was going to be my only shot,” Prior said. “So I kind of just went with it, went all out.

“It’s different than anything I’ve ever done before. I was a forward in soccer. I was a midfielder in lacrosse. I’ve never been a defender, ever, but it’s just fun and different. (It’s) very stressful at times. I’ve always been told it’s got to get through 10 other guys before it gets to you, so you’ve just got to learn to let (goals that you give up) go.”

Prior made 10 saves for Vermont, which trailed, 10-3, at halftime.

Woodstock’s Patrick Potter is another local Byrne Cup selection who bounced back from a nasty knee injury on an impressive timetable.

Potter, who represented the Wasps on Saturday — along with Woodstock teammate Cullen McCarthy — tore his right ACL during the Wasps’ loss to Windsor in November’s D-III state championship football game.

“I love lacrosse and definitely wanted to make it out for my senior year,” Potter said. “I might as well put in the work.”

Potter put everything he could into suiting up for the Wasps for his senior spring campaign.

“I worked out, like, twice a day, sometimes three times a day,” he said. “Whenever I had classes off, I’d go into the weight room and do my rehab. I had PT pretty much five times a week.”

The midfielder, who hopes to play for the UNH club team next year, spoke to the torrential rain that persisted on Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve been in some rainy games in everything, but I don’t think I’ve been in severe rain like this,” Potter said. “Your sticks just throw differently. Sometimes you lose track of the ball; your ball-eye coordination can be off by a little bit.”

Hanover’s Graham Penfield, who plans to play lacrosse at Trinity College in Connecticut, had three goals and an assist for New Hampshire.

Girls: N.H. 17, Vt. 10

The Byrne Cup girls squared off shortly after a quick morning practice — the fleeting teams’ first and last.

“It was a little hard to work with people you haven’t worked with before,” said Hanover defender Madeleine Wallace after New Hampshire beat Vermont. “But it wasn’t any problem with skill level; it was just cohesion in the team.”

The Granite State squad took a commanding 7-1 lead into halftime, but Vermont made a comeback attempt in the second half. Burr & Burton’s Shayla Heekin led the Green Mountain team with four goals. Portsmouth’s Lily Madden scored five goals for New Hampshire.

Hartford teammates Morgan Pero and Michaela Ricker both played primarily defense on Saturday for Vermont.

“You didn’t feel lonely, and you had a partner, so that was good,” Pero said of co-representing the Hurricanes with Ricker. “It’s just good to have more than one — it makes people aware, I guess.”

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