The afternoon heat of 100 degrees quickly turned bloody when goalie Chloe Faircloth was kicked in the face.
The junior stood in the goal on Tuesday, Sept. 21 with minutes left in the game, Mills losing 6-0 to Menlo at the time.
The ball came rushing towards Faircloth. She reached out for the ball, her grasp coinciding with a forward’s kick to her face. Faircloth collapsed to the ground, grabbing her head.
Faircloth’s resulting injuries were a mild concussion, a chipped tooth and a cut on her bottom lip.
“I remember going to get the ball, and then I don’t remember what happened,” the 20-year-old said. “I remember being in the goal, and then I remember the trainer Natalie Spangler was there.”
Faircloth sat on the ground for about one minute before Spangler ran onto the field along with head coach Colette Bowler and assistant coach Dario Arredondo. The three staff members of Mills Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation attended to Faircloth for about three minutes before they helped her walk off the field.
“The coach came up to me after the game and said, ‘Sorry, my player should have known to jump,’” Bowler said. “As a forward, you should jump. The foul could have been avoided.”
But the player didn’t jump, and Faircloth sat on the ground somewhat disoriented.
“When it comes to any sort of head-related injuries, we tend to be pretty conservative and pull them from the game,” Bowler said.
Spangler ran a variety of tests on the scene to see if Faircloth was actually concussed.
“I basically am there for on-sight injuries and care,” Spangler said. “Usually on the field I would check for memory loss. I would ask the player if they remember before the event, the actual incident and after the event.”
After evaluating injured athletes, Spangler has to decide if the players should stay in or sit on the sideline benches.
“I normally take them out immediately,” Spangler said. “It’s hard because injury is so subjective, so I have to go off of what the athlete says.”
With Faircloth, though, the ultimate decision was for her to sit out for the remaining few minutes of the game.
Injuries aside, the match had been an afternoon of misfortunes. The players toiled in the record afternoon. Menlo scored four points in the first 15 minutes on goalie Rene’e Gallison before Faircloth stepped in.
Faircloth missed two shots, increasing the score to 6-0 before Gallsion stepped in and the final goal was scored on her.
Regardless of Faircloth’s injury, she said she was still pleased with her performance.
“The game was going really well,” Faircloth said. “I had a lot of saves and two almost impossible goals that slipped past me, but I stayed focused and committed to my role as a goalie.”