A video of Thursday’s soccer collision between Marmion’s Flynn Collins and St. Charles East’s Mike Novotny was posted to YouTube, giving Novotny a persistent case of online rubber-necking.
The Saints senior goalkeeper’s physical ailments from the collision figure to linger long after his curiosity is quenched.
“I watched the video so many times, and I don’t even know what happened,” Novotny said. “I still can’t even see what happened … what part of him hit my shin, what part of him hit my ankle, but it looks like my knee hit his head. I keep looking back at it because it’s just one of those tackles where you can hear it in the video. It was crazy.”
Novotny learned at a doctor’s appointment Friday that he has a partial ligament tear in his left ankle to go with a deep bone bruise on his left shin. He is expected to miss at least two weeks, beginning with today’s championship match of the St. Charles East Tournament against Streamwood.
Novotny said he’s “pretty down” about his outlook, but he realizes it’s much worse for Collins. As the Kane County Chronicle reported Friday, Collins – arguably Marmion’s top player – will miss the rest of his senior season after suffering a broken jaw in two places. Novotny said he dug up a phone number for Collins, of Batavia, and text messaged his well-wishes Thursday night.
The collision unfolded after a pass from one of the Saints’ defenders back to Novotny rolled slowly enough that the speedy Collins was tempted to make a play on the ball. He darted in to try to beat Novotny to it midway through the second half of East’s eventual 4-1 win.
“I think it was just a 50-50 tackle,” Novotny said. “It’s a part of the game. You’ve got to go in hard, and if you don’t go in hard, you’re going to end up really bad. We both went in hard and were just trying to win the ball. There’s really nothing else we can do; it was really unlucky on both of our parts.”
An Eastern Illinois recruit, Novotny will be a substantial loss for the unbeaten Saints, though East is much better situated to deal with it than most teams would. Another quality keeper, Chris Lucatorto, has shared time with Novotny each of the past two seasons.
Novotny hopes to be back in time for the postseason, which begins Oct. 22.
His more immediate worry is tonight’s homecoming dance. Novotny, newly on crutches and wearing a protective boot, has a date, and he doesn’t want to miss out.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do,” Novotny said. “It’s going to be interesting. I have to think about it [Friday night].”
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.