Jessica Manning's debut season with the UNBC Timberwolves women's soccer team was suddenly cut short.
The 18-year-old midfielder was benched last Thursday after she woke up with severe abdominal pain. Manning was diagnosed with ovarian torsion, or a twisting of the ovaries, possibly caused by cysts and had surgery later that day. It effectively ended her rookie season of Canada West soccer since the recovery period is six to eight weeks.
"I was up until two in the morning studying, getting ready for my chemistry midterm [last Friday] and I was all ready for it and the next morning I woke up in pain," said Manning, a former member of the PGYSA under-18 girls soccer team. "I was screaming and aching in pain."
Ovarian torsion is a common aliment in women, especially ones under 30. There can be several causes but one is ovarian cysts. Manning said the doctors told her it was possible in her case that physical activity was a contributor to causing her ovaries to twist. In surgery the doctors straightened the ovaries.
Her chemistry midterm was rescheduled for today but much to Manning's disappointment she missed the T-wolves (0-7-3) final two home games at the North Cariboo soccer field - a 7-1 loss Saturday to the Calgary Dinos (2-3-3) and a 2-2 tie Sunday with the Lethbridge Pronghorns (1-6-1).
At least Manning was able to score her first CIS goal the weekend before, in a 2-2 draw in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars.
"I didn't really consider myself much of a goal scorer; I always thought of myself as feeding the players but it was pretty exciting, it was just sort of a rebound goal," said the graduate of Kelly Road secondary. "It was kind of nice to contribute and [help] Sidney [Roy] for once. I had an assist also on her goal so that was kind of exciting."
Roy has scored six of the T-wolves seven goals this season, including goals in the 76th and 80th minutes in Sunday's come-from-behind tie with the Pronghorns. Manning played in eight of the T-wolves 12 games.
The T-wolves, sans Manning, will conclude their inaugural CIS season this weekend in Vancouver against the Trinity Western Spartans (Friday, 5 p.m.) and the UBC Thunderbirds (Saturday, 5 p.m.).
Manning said she once dreamt being able to leave home to play soccer, following a similar sporting path her older brother Brandon took with hockey. Brandon is a defenceman for the NHL Philadelphia Flyers and plays in the American Hockey League.
"As time elapsed that dream became a little bit more realistic and playing here seemed more reasonable," said Manning. "I want to pursue a career in pharmacy, obviously I can't do it here since they don't offer it, but pharmacy requires two years of prerequisites so I figured it's in my best interests to save some money and some time and stay home for a bit longer. And I was excited to play soccer."
Since her surgery last week, Manning said she might switch her educational pursuit to becoming a surgeon or doctor.
"I always thought I'd be very scared of blood but after going through surgery last week it made me realize it might be a possibility for me," she said. "It's only a couple more years of schooling so it might be worth it."