CROWN POINT | Rachel Marczewski missed the 2011 postseason for back-to-back Class 2A regional champion Crown Point with a broken ankle.
She was in the pictures and at the games, but had to watch her teammates earn those trophies from the sidelines. So, to Marczewski, all the hoopla around this year's playoff run still feels fresh.
"It's unbelievable," Marczewski said. "For me, this was the first time I've won a regional. It felt amazing."
The senior midfielder has made sure to do her part, too. She's tallied 10 points (four goals and two assists) in four postseason matches.
"I have a new focus," Marczewski said. "Not a lot of people get second chances."
Marczewski's got 15 goals and nine assists in total for 2012.
Her success is no surprise to coach Chris Mikrut, though. He said that Marczewski has also dealt with back problems throughout her high school career and often does postgame interviews with bags of ice taped to her lower back. Now, she is finally healthy.
The outside world is just now getting the chance to see what she can do.
"Tactically, she's one of the best players I've ever had," Mikrut said. "She's always a play ahead of the game and puts the ball where it needs to be."
"A girl may not make the right run, but Rachel puts the ball right where it should be."
Marczewski has never made excuses and always remains positive, Mikrut said. The drive she's displayed this season has helped fuel the Bulldogs (18-3).
"Kids see how much she loves being out there," Mikrut said. "She's a postive leader and what she says is always right on."
C.P. takes on Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in the Class 2A South Bend St. Joseph's Semistate on Saturday. A win could present a shot at redemption against the St. Joseph team that knocked the Bulldogs out of last year's postseason.
Only this time around, Crown Point will have Marczewski on the pitch.
"We're as good, if not better than, last year," she said. "We have a shot at state if we can just put a full 80 minutes (of our best soccer) together."