Laurynn Teixeira didn’t feel like herself on the soccer field earlier this season.
Yes, the North Arlington senior was still out there, but due to a host of injuries to her left hamstring and quad, Teixeira was playing limited minutes and not able to fully showcase the skill set that made her one of the NJIC’s top midfielders.
“It did get frustrating at times, but I had to push through it,” Teixeira said. “It definitely took a lot of recovery time and I wasn’t able to play to my full potential in certain games that I would have liked to. But now that I’m recovered, I like to go 100-percent.”
Teixeira’s return to peak strength couldn’t have come at a better time both for her and the Vikings.
Teixeira has recorded at least one point in each of her last six games for North Arlington. The highlight came in Thursday’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 opener against Dayton when she had three goals and three assists for a career-high nine points as the Vikings’ 6-1 win.
Texieira’s return to health and the performance that has come with it makes her The Observer Athlete of the Week.
“I feel amazing. I’m able to show what I’m capable of now that I’m almost 100-percent healthy out on the field, not having any setbacks,” said Teixeira. “I love being able to show what I’m capable of.”
“You could tell she wasn’t getting that same kind of push off and her touch on the ball was a little sloppy (when she was hurting),” North Arlington coach Mike Vivino said. “She’s done well to get back into it and try to get as close to 100-percent as possible. It’s good timing, she’s really put up the numbers in the last couple of weeks for us in some big game.”
For the season, Teixeira has nine goals and 12 assists, both totals are second on the team to fellow four-year starter Lia Cruz, who also had three goals and three assists in Thursday’s win.
According to Teixeira, the turning point in her recovery from her leg injuries occurred after the Vikings’ Oct. 13 game against Harrison at Red Bull Arena.
“At Red Bull Arena I was starting to feel a bit of pain, I went to acupuncture, got some recovery done,” Teixeira said. “As soon as it was feeling better, I knew I was back.”
Starting with North Arlington’s next game, a 5-0 win against Harrison on Oct. 18, Teixeira has five goals and seven assists in five games, a stretch the Vikings have gone 4-1. Thursday’s hat trick was the fifth of her career and first this season.
“She’s been playing well the last two, three weeks and you could see her consistently getting better,” said Vivino. “She’s so talented with the ball on her feet that we sometimes take for granted how much of the field she sees. That was really that big step up. Just seeing the field, knowing where her teammates were going to be, not where they were at the moment. She was thinking a step or two ahead and that was a big factor in (our success).”
That chemistry with her teammates, in particular fellow senior Lia Cruz has been vital to North Arlington’s offense for four years. Cruz and Teixeira have been teammates since before high school and have displayed a rare on-field bond and chemistry.
That chemistry has been especially prevalent of late as, in an effort to reduce the wear and tear on her leg, Teixeira has played more time up top alongside Cruz, and less at the attacking midfield spot she started the season at.
“Me and Lia have been playing for years now, even before high school,” Teixeira said. “We’ve always been told that ‘you guys have amazing chemistry together, you play so well together,’ so coming into high school we knew the advantage we had and what we were capable of.”
Teixeira, Cruz and the rest of the Vikings look to continue their playoff run on Monday when it hosts Cedar Grove in a quarterfinal matchup held after our deadline. With a win, North Arlington would face the Hasbrouck Heights-Mountain Lakes winner in the semifinals on Thursday.
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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer
Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (nj.com, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)