Nobody had a clue Brooke Bastien was playing her final match for the Orange Lutheran girls’ volleyball team.
She was running, leaping and diving that September evening, doing whatever it took to defeat perennial powerhouse Newport Harbor.
Her efforts paid off.
Bastien finished with a team-high 20 kills and lifted the Lancers to a five-game victory over the Sailors, rallying from a 6-0 deficit in the final game to clinch the match.
But there was a severe downside to Bastien’s story.
“Technically, her foot was broken,” coach Andrew Mabry said of that night.
Bastien, a second-team all-Trinity League selection last season and the top returning player for the Lancers, had been feeling increasing discomfort in her left foot for weeks, enough that she’d visited a doctor.
Initially, the cause of the soreness wasn’t deemed serious, but a second opinion proved otherwise. She had a metatarsal stress fracture, something that prevents most people from even walking, much less playing in a 2 1/2-hour volleyball match.
“I definitely went through a lot of pain, but I just wanted to win for my team,” Bastien said. “I just had to do what I had to do to get through that one match.”
When her teammates learned of the injury and the pain she endured, they were in awe of her strength and determination.
“It shows her toughness and how much she wants to be out there,” Mabry said.
The Lancers still had a long season ahead and plenty of talent remaining to make it a success.
Mabry asked another senior, Isabel Minshall, to take over many of Bastien’s on-the-court responsibilities. Kaylie Milton’s role on the team also expanded.
Orange Lutheran returned to the court for the first time without Bastien three days after the Newport Harbor match and found a way to win the two-day 24-team Cardinal Classic at Whittier High School. The Lancers then recorded a three-game sweep against Edison and another over Rosary in the Trinity League opener.
“You can’t replace Brooke. There’s no replacing somebody like that,” Mabry said. “You just have to kind of figure it out as you go. Some of our younger kids have done a nice job stepping in there. … but there’s no way we replace somebody like Brooke.”
Bastien’s teammates will never need to go far for inspiration or advice this season. Bastien plans to continue attending games and practices, even if it seems more painful to watch than it did to play on her injured foot.
“It’s frustrating knowing that I could be out there and doing things that I want to be doing, but it’s just a process of getting through it,” she said.
Bastien hopes to be back on the court with her club team in January. She hasn’t decided on her college plans, but it’s a safe bet she’ll be playing somewhere next fall.
In the meantime, the Lancers will try to move up the ladder without their team leader on the court. Mabry believes they still have the skill and desire to achieve their goals.
“We’re motivated this year,” he said. “We missed the playoffs last year. We had another injury to [Olivia Root] last year. She tore her ACL in the middle of our season… So this group has kind of been through a lot. We’re motivated to do well.”