ELIZABETHTON, Tennessee — Milligan College goalie Eva Bower is playing her best with a broken toe.
Bower, a lesbian, broke a toe in mid-September. She didn’t stop playing for the Milligan women’s soccer team, an NAIA team at a small Christian college in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
“Distribution has been a little bit challenging,” Bower said of the injury’s ramifications. “I haven’t really been able to pass or take goal kicks. I can punt if I angle my foot a certain way, but I can’t play with my feet nearly as much.”
Her stats don’t show deficiencies.
In seven October matches, Bower made 24 saves, allowed four goals and helped the team go 6-1.
Milligan (9-6-1 overall) suffered its only October loss in double overtime to Truett McConnell, the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season champion.
“I hit my groove in that game that we played against Truett,” said Bower, who made a career-high 16 saves in the 1-0 loss to Truett on Oct. 13. “I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been playing.”
A toe injury was the easier ailment Bower overcame to lead Milligan to the No. 4 seed in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament, which starts Friday.
Bower dealt with depression and anxiety at the start of the season.
“My game had definitely been struggling for the first half of our season,” Bower said.
Bower attributed the depression and anxiety to “some high-stress situations” in her life.
“This year’s been a challenge for me mental-health wise,” Bower said. “To have a game like I did against Truett after a lot of adversity that I’ve gone through, I’m just really proud of myself to be able to bounce back like that.”
Her 16-save performance against Truett earned her AAC Defensive Player of the Week.
“My coach said the old Eva was back, because I hadn’t played like that since last December,” Bower said. “That was a real turning point.”
Milligan won its next four matches after the Truett loss.
Women's Soccer: Milligan's Bower, Reinhardt's Merrilles Nab Women's Soccer Weekly Awards— AAC Sports (@AACsports) October 16, 2018
- https://t.co/bCt6PuxoC8 pic.twitter.com/HDtAsBZ4GQ
Bower, a sophomore at Milligan, has been out as a lesbian since her freshman year of high school, so she has been out to her college teammates since joining the team.
“I’ve never had any issues with my team or my coach with me being gay,” Bower said.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Bower made 56 saves and recorded four shutouts in the regular season, but her main aspirations this season are to help the team advance.
She says she gets along with everyone on the team and wants them to succeed.
“You’ve got to make room for the people that are willing to love you and don’t really pay attention to the people that are being negative and trying to beat you down,” Bower said.
Eva Bower can be found on Instagram @EvaBower1.
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place Oct. 15-28.
Clark Carter (senior, Indiana men’s diving) and Kennedy Lohman (junior, Texas women’s swimming) competed in a meet Oct. 19-20 at Texas that also included Florida. Carter finished eighth in 3-meter springboard (294.85 points) and ninth in 1-meter springboard (268.05). Lohman competed in three relays, the 100-yard breaststroke (12th, 1:05.71) and 200 breaststroke (12th, 2:20.07).
Lisa Coe (junior, Pittsburgh women’s diving) finished sixth in 1-meter (181.13) and 3-meter springboard (231.98) during a dual meet Oct. 20 at Virginia.
Xavier Colvin (redshirt junior, Butler football) experienced a season-ending injury in the game against Valparaiso on Oct. 13.
Aidan Faminoff (junior, Florida State men’s diving) finished fourth in 1-meter (294.6) and 3-meter springboard (303.75) during a meet at Minnesota on Oct. 20. He finished fourth in 3-meter (316.73) and fifth in 1-meter (287.85) during a meet against Arizona State on Oct. 26.
Scott Frantz (redshirt junior, Kansas State football) started at left tackle in Saturday’s 51-14 loss to No. 8-ranked Oklahoma. Kansas State (3-5 overall, 1-4 Big 12) plays at TCU on Nov. 3, and the game is scheduled to be broadcast on FS1 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Connor Griffin (senior, Fordham men’s swimming) finished eighth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.18) in the season-opening dual meet against Marist on Oct. 18.
Nathaniel Hernandez (junior, Duke men’s diving) finished second on 1-meter (330.6) and 3-meter springboard (366.45) against N.C. State on Oct. 20. Duke finished top two in all four diving events for coach Nunzio Esposto (diving coach, Duke men’s and women’s teams).
Abbie Hetherington (redshirt senior, Oklahoma State women’s cross country) finished 26th in 21 minutes, 18.4 seconds over 6 kilometers at the Big 12 Championships on Friday to help the Cowgirls finish second as a team.
Bree Horrocks (redshirt senior, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) will miss the start of the season and be out for an indefinite amount of time due to blood clots, according to a Vanderbilt press release.
Kathleen Keegan (senior, Boston women’s field hockey) made 11 saves over four games as Boston went 2-2 the last two weeks. Boston (10-7 overall, 6-0 Patriot) enters the Patriot League tournament as the top seed.
Johnny Kemps (senior, Boston men’s cross country) and Michael Mitchell (sophomore, Lehigh men’s cross country) competed at Saturday’s 8-kilometer Patriot League Championships. Kemps helped Boston place second by finishing seventh in 26:09.6. Kemps’ race earned First Team All-Patriot League honors. Mitchell finished 75th in 28:07.1, and Lehigh took fifth place.
Ryan Russi (redshirt senior, Wyoming men’s diving) won 1-meter (280.73 points) and 3-meter springboard (310.5) in a meet against Air Force on Oct. 19. “Ryan Russi really came ready to work today he did a great job,” Wyoming coach Dave Denniston said.
Jack Thorne (senior, Northwestern men’s swimming) competed in three events in the season-opening meet Oct. 19-20 at Michigan, and his best finish was third in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:50.2). On Friday in a three-team home meet, he swam three events with third place in the 100 backstroke (50.94 seconds) his best result.
Robbie White (redshirt junior, Northwestern men’s soccer) made two saves while playing in goal the second half of Friday’s 6-0 win against Concordia, a win that closed the regular season for Northwestern (5-8-5 overall, 0-5-3 Big Ten).
James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) went 1-2 the last two weeks. The Redhawks are 9-14 overall and 2-8 in the WAC.
Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) saw the Crimson go 1-2 to start the season.
Chip Rogers (assistant coach, Miami (Ohio) women’s field hockey) saw the RedHawks capture their second consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season title with Saturday’s 4-1 win against Appalachian State. Miami (13-6 overall, 6-0 MAC) is the No. 1 seed entering the MAC tournament.
Jessica Smith (assistant coach, Kanas State women’s soccer) saw the Wildcats (4-12-2 overall) go 0-3 the last two weeks to end the season.
Arman Bashiri (senior, Bloomfield men’s soccer) scored the game-winning goal in the 105th minute of a 4-3 double overtime win against Concordia on Oct. 17. Bloomfield (7-9 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks to close the season.
Cheradyn Pettit (senior, Mercy women’s field hockey) played three halves in the team’s four games the last two weeks, and she made 13 saves and allowed four goals. Mercy (4-12 overall) went 1-3 in the last two weeks to close the regular season. Mercy enters the ECC tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Noah Ratliff (senior, Mercyhurst men’s water polo) recorded an assist in Saturday’s win against Connecticut College and in Sunday’s loss to Salem. Mercyhurst (12-9 overall) went 1-2 the last two weeks to close the regular season.
Jake Van Ittersum (junior, Northwood football) started at left guard in a 55-21 loss to Wayne State on Oct. 20, which was followed by a bye week.
Lindsey Farrell (senior, McDaniel women’s soccer) provided a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win against Muhlenberg on Oct. 20. McDaniel (10-4-1 overall) closed the regular season by going 2-0-1 the last two weeks. McDaniel enters the Centennial Conference tournament as the No. 3 seed.
Matthew Garza (junior, Johns Hopkins men’s swimming) finished fourth in both the 100-yard butterfly (53.66 seconds) and 200 butterfly (1:58.37) in a dual meet Oct. 20 at Bucknell.
Ian Johnson (junior, Montclair State men’s soccer) started both matches the last two weeks as the Red Hawks closed the regular seaosn with a pair of victories to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular season title. On a streak of 13 matches without a loss, Montclair State (15-1-2 overall, 8-0-1 NJAC) enters the NJAC tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Sam Johnson (junior, Whittier men’s soccer) closed the season with the Poets (6-10 overall) going 1-3 the last two weeks. Whittier beat Pomona-Pitzer 2-1 in double overtime on Oct. 24.
Harrison Knowlton (senior, Middlebury men’s cross country) and Tucker Meijer (senior, Amherst men’s cross country) competed at Saturday’s 8-kilometer NESCAC Championships at Boston’s Franklin Park. Meijer finished 10th in 26:00.8 to earn second team all-conference honors and help Amherst win the men’s team title through wet, muddy conditions. It’s Amherst’s second consecutive NESCAC cross country team title. Knowlton came in 21st (26:16.8), and Middlebury finished third as a team.
Wyatt Pertuset (junior, Capital football) caught three passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns along with six punts for 257 yards in Saturday’s 23-19 win at Otterbein. A week earlier, he caught two passes for 43 yards and punted once for 47 yards in a 49-46 loss to Ohio Northern on Oct. 20.
Taylor Reifert (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer) closed his college career with the Sagehens (7-11 overall) going 1-2 the last two weeks to end the season. This season, Reifert started 12 of the 17 games he played, and he scored one goal and had two assists.
Eric Blevins (diving coach, College of New Jersey) saw men’s diver Ethan Stainman win both diving events to help the men’s team win the season-opening meet against Montclair State on Oct. 27.
Cavender Salvadori (assistant coach, Johnson & Wales cross country) saw the men’s team take third in Saturday’s eight-team SCAC Championships.
Jaxon Cork (sophomore, Cardinal Stritch men’s volleyball) announced that he transferred to Cardinal Stritch, which is located in Milwaukee. Last season, he played volleyball for Clarke University.
Cliff Hastings (head coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) and Ron Hoppe-Hastings (assistant coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) led the No. 2-ranked Cobras to a 10-0 record to close the regular season. Parkland (51-2 overall) has won 15 consecutive matches entering the postseason. The 51 regular season wins are the most in Hastings’ 10 years at the helm of the program.
Erik Hall can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBTQ athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.