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Mirkovic's return makes Woodbridge dangerous
The volleyball court is where Mima Mirkovic loves to be.
Unfortunately, for Woodbridge’s junior outside hitter, last season was spent on the sidelines.
After an impressive freshman season, Mirkovic was invited to train with the U.S. Youth National Team in Colorado. Her time there lasted two practices.
“I landed on my left leg and my knee just caved in,” she said from a recent Woodbridge practice. “I stayed the week just to support the team, flew back home and then it was a blur from there. A lot of doctor appointments.”
She underwent surgery on her ACL and volleyball was placed on hold.
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“It was hard, especially when high school season started and I had to tell everybody that I was out for the season, but I did my best to be supportive on the bench,” Mirkovic said. “Even for club … Club season was super hard, because it felt like it was going on for ever and ever, but it is over now.”
That’s because Mirkovic has made her way back to the court
She was cleared in March and resumed playing for her club team, Tstreet Volleyball Club, in April.
“I didn’t let fear get to me,” she said. “I was wearing this huge (knee) brace … It was a rough transition.
“I couldn’t dive on my left side. It took me about a month to kind of really get back into it, and after my doctor cleared me to take off the brace, I popped it off and I went after it.”
Mirkovic treated the opening of practice for the upcoming high school season as a new beginning. Mirkovic and the Warriors will be in action in the Dave Mohs Memorial Tournament this weekend.
“I was so excited,” she said. “It was my first high school practice since my freshman year, I was so excited. It has been a fun time.”
Mirkovic also had to deal with potential mental hurdles as she started her journey back to action.
“Obviously, I took it very easy, but I did not let that slow me down,” she said. “Just be mentally strong, and I pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone, and I broke down that barrier in a week or so.”
Mirkovic said she had more than 120 physical therapy sessions during her rehabilitation. The first five months, she worked on her range of motion and mobility. After January, she transitioned to running, jumping, cutting and agility drills.
She said she is getting close to being 100 percent.
“I’m think I’m at 85-90 percent,” she said. “I still have a few things to work on to make sure I’m in top shape, but I’m enjoying the process.”
The Warriors qualified for the CIF playoffs in Mirkovic’s freshman year, but didn’t qualify last year.
Woodbridge coach Alan Ho wants to make sure Mirkovic stays healthy throughout the season so he will try to avoid asking too much of her. It won’t be easy, he said.
“We have someone that when we’re in trouble, we can depend on and throw the ball up to and she can put the ball away,” Ho said. “It is one of those things where if you’ve never had it, you don’t know what it’s like to have it, and when it is gone, you miss that.”
He added that he’s convinced “she’s a top-10 player in the county. Obviously there’s a lot of talent out there, and I haven’t had a chance to see everybody out there ... She has the tools, the skills and the competitive fire to compete, so I think she ranks up there and deserves to be mentioned as one of the better girls out there.”
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