Ani Roberts never expected to play football for the Bangor High School girls team this season.
The talented junior midfielder played a bit at the end of last season but was limited after undergoing a meniscus transplant in her left knee in the spring of 2021.
After recovering from the injury, Roberts broke her right kneecap while running in August, but she made her first appearance of the season on Tuesday night in Bangor’s 2-0 Class A quarter-final win. North against Oxford Hills south of Paris.
She played important minutes as starting midfielder Olivia Scott missed the match due to illness.
Roberts had multiple touches on the ball, made crisp passes and showed no ill effects from his broken kneecap.
The pressure of a playoff game didn’t seem to bother her at all.
In a game in late October last fall, she scored a goal in Bangor’s 2-1 win over Farmington’s Mt. Blue in her first game after meniscus transplant.
She was pleased with Tuesday’s appearance.
“It was awesome,” Roberts said. “Both of my knees felt good.”
She said her kneecap had a “rare break” and did not need surgery, which allowed her to return to the team this season.
“It was easier to just let him heal on his own,” said Roberts, who has spent a lot of time in physical therapy and also done a lot of work on her own.
His presence gave the team a boost.
“It was really good when she came back last year. She had so much energy, we were so happy for her,” senior winger Anna Connors said.
“Again, this year, we had the same emotions for her,” Connors added. “She looked really good. She was ready to play.”
Bangor coach Andrew Varisco said it was great to see Roberts back on the pitch.
“She must have spent so much time away from the game,” Varisco said. “She played well. We’ll just have to watch her minutes.
Varisco said that in addition to her skills, Roberts brings a lot of energy to the team and is popular with her teammates and coaches.
Roberts and the second-seeded Rams, now 10-1-4, will host No. 3 Camden Hills, 11-3-1, in a Saturday morning semifinal at Cameron Stadium in Bangor. Game time is 11 a.m.
Bangor have won eight in a row and the Windjammers have won seven in a row.
The two teams drew 2-2 in extra time on September 9 at Bangor as Camden Hills erased a 2-0 deficit with goals 49 seconds apart midway through the second half.