Rigby Raises Lenape's Fortunes

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Katei Rigby (3) shown competing in Lenape's state final win during her sophomore year

It was a testament to the strength of the Lenape girls’ soccer program that the Indians were able to win a fourth straight state Group 4 title last year with the services of Katie: Rigby.

Now a senior, Rigby missed last soccer season after having knee surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She hurt the knee while playing in a tournament in Las Vegas in March of 2010.

“I am feeling great,” Rigby said.

Rigby was an Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey performer as a sophomore. She was an integral part of two state title teams at Lenape and is among the most unselfish big-time scorer.

Her presence is welcomed even more since Lenape will be without sophomore Kate Walters, who opted not to come out for the team this year after earning Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey honors last season.

Lenape coach Kevin Meder said that Walters told him that she wasn’t able to fully commit to the team.

Walters has been involved in the National Team pool.

Lenape wouldn’t have won a fourth straight state title last year without Walters just as the Indians wouldn’t have been a state champion the previous two seasons without Rigby.

And Rigby enters the season with one less worry after recently making a college commitment to attend the University of Utah.

“I am a Mormon and there are a lot of Mormons in Utah with the same morals and beliefs,” Rigby said. “And coach (Rich Manning) is an amazing coach and a nice person and had a lot of patience with my recovery process.”

  In an ironic twist, Rigby’s first tournament after her surgery came in March with her club team Real New Jersey Power. It was the same one she was injured in the previous year in Las Vegas.

“I wasn’t there yet and my speed wasn’t there,” she said.

Things have come along fine since her return.

“She has looked outstanding,” Meder said. “In her mind she may not be back 100 percent but she looks darn close to it.”

As impressive as Rigby has been on the field, her character draws similar raves. Last season despite being injured, she attended games and practices, cheering her teammates along the way.

Now Rigby should also draw some cheers, except from the unfortunate teams that have to defend a player who remains among the class of South Jersey.