Any soccer player will look forward to fall.

The temperatures drop. The leaves fall and life revolves around soccer again.

Katie Cobb was especially anxious for the season to being with her University of Southern Maine Huskies.

“I’d never been so excited to get back on the field and not have to worry about anything,” said the former Lewiston High School goalie.

Cobb struggled through last year while recovering from a shoulder injury. She was cleared to play and only missed the preseason and some early games, but it was a season-long recovery.

“I just felt really behind because I missed all of preseason and a lot of what I would do to get stronger,” Cobb said. “I just felt behind starting out late and having everyone else be ahead of me. I was playing catch up all season.”

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That’s what is making this season so great. Cobb has returned in prime form and is excited about feeling on top of her game.

“I definitely feel like I’m a better play out there,” Cobb said. “Starting out 100 percent and not having to worry about anything, it took a lot mentally off of me. It makes me more excited and has allowed me to get to my potential.”

Cobb had played in nine games total her first two years with USM. A dislocated shoulder threatened her junior season. After surgery and a six-month recovery, Cobb returned to the team after missing last year’s preseason and the first handful of games. She finished the year seeing action in 10 games with seven starts. She went 2-6 with a 2.12 goals against.

“Just starting out, I was really nervous,” said Cobb, who entered this season with 20 career games with a 3-8 record and 2.40 goal against.  “I might have been 100 percent physically but not mentally. It took me awhile, close to the end of the season to get there and not be so nervous.”

Those concerns are behind her now. She’s playing with greater confidence and has been a key part of USM’s strong start. The Huskies entered the weekend 3-2 and won three of its first four games. Cobb has allowed just three goals and was named the season’s first LEC Goaltender of the Week.

“It was definitely the mental piece,” Cobb said. “I felt like I was on track. I felt like I was starting out 100 percent instead of 60 percent. That was key for me. Now I’ve had that advantage of having a preseason and early games. I haven’t been missing out on anything.”

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Cobb says she feels stronger and having that renewed confidence has aided her start. The Huskies have scored 10 goals in their three wins, something they struggled to do in previous years. The roster also features locals Kenzie Sullivan (Lewiston), Brooke Lawrence (Lisbon) Dakota Warren (Buckfield) and Michaela Despins (Gray-New Gloucester).

“We haven’t scored this many goals in a long time,” said Cobb. “So things are looking up. We focused a lot on offense and attacking and getting in. We’ve done it so far. Hopefully, we can carry that through.”

USM had two other keepers in junior Sara Bishop and sophomore Marrissa Temple. Cobb has seen action in all five games and shared time with Temple in one of them.

“My expectations are high,” Cobb said. “I expect to see the field a lot. I have stiff competition behind me. Every day at practice is a challenge. I just have to keep it consistent throughout every single practice and prove I deserve to be on the field.”

With more conference games coming up, the Huskies expect some tests on the schedule, but their start has helped set a tone for the rest of the season.

“We’re ready and we’re excited,” Cobb said. “It’s doing nothing but making us optimistic.”

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