Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s soccer forward Jackie Bruno out for season with Lyme disease

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

There hasn’t been much good news coming from the Massachusetts women’s soccer team this season, but Tuesday’s news might be the worst it’s suffered yet.

Minutewomen coach Ed Matz told the Massachusetts Daily Collegian that senior forward Jackie Bruno has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with Lyme disease.

UMass (0-3-2) has faced many injuries to start the season, but the loss of Bruno is the biggest it has faced this year. The senior led the team in points (12), goals (six) and shots (40) as the Minutewomen’s top offensive threat in 2014.

According to Matz, the issue started shortly before the preseason.

“Jackie was diagnosed a week before the preseason and she sat out the first couple weeks,” Matz said. “We wanted to be careful because Lyme disease is a very serious disease.”

After a couple weeks, Bruno was cleared to play again and looked like her old self out on the field, according to Matz. Bruno missed the first game of the season against Syracuse but appeared in the Minutewomen’s next game against New Hampshire.

In the matchup against the Wildcats, Bruno played 20 minutes and recorded one shot on goal in a 0-0 tie.

But Bruno had a relapse after the game and cited tiredness among the symptoms felt, according to Matz.

After a trip back to the doctors, she was shut down for the season.

Matz said he’s confident UMass can step up in Bruno’s absence and he believes they have already through the first five games, but he realizes losing her is going to hurt the team.

“She is quite possibly the best shooter in our program right now, especially because she is a left-foot kicker,” Matz said. “People who can score from anywhere on the field with her accuracy don’t come around too often so losing someone like that always hurts.”

The Staten Island, New York native has been an offensive leader on the team since she joined the Minutewomen for the 2012 season. She’s scored 11 goals in her UMass career and has tallied three assists.

Until this season, Bruno remained fairly healthy and only missed two games in her first three years with the Minutewomen.

“Jackie has always seemed to play with grit, fire and toughness,” Matz said. “She is always going hard for balls on the field and I admire the effort she puts in.”

The impact Bruno has on UMass’ underclassmen cannot be understated as well, said Matz.

“Whenever the younger girls on the team see a senior who has accomplished what Jackie has going for balls like she does, it only pushes them to do the same.” Matz said. “There is so much senior leadership that comes from her and that will be hard to replace. We will miss her in a lot of ways.”

The Minutewomen have struggled mightily on offense early in the season and the loss of Bruno has impacted that greatly. In the four games she has been out of the lineup, UMass has scored just one goal.

Despite the offensive struggles, Matz said he’s been impressed with how the Minutewomen have played in Bruno’s absence.

“I could not be more proud of how everyone on this team has worked hard and really improved,” Matz said. “We have been in almost every game this season. With a few different breaks, we could be looking at a very different record.”

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass women’s soccer forward Jackie Bruno out for season with Lyme disease”

  1. Cheryl on September 16th, 2015 7:15 pm

    As a patient who has struggled for over 2 decades, since my teens with this crap, I can’t believe the focus is on this team and the effects on it. Sure, they mention the girl, how good she is, how she’s inspiring … Her life is forever changed!!! Why not discuss the risks of Lyme on the field? This is why we have issues in the US and globally. We aren’t focused on the right part of the story. Do this kid a story and discuss it. She’s going to need lots of support. If you see this, Jackie Bruno, please feel free to contact me at CK Thiruvathukal on Facebook or to join The Bee Venom Miracle for Lyme Disease. This doesn’t have to ruin a life, and with a little (or lot) of attention, you just might be “back in the game” sooner than you think. So sorry this happened to you!

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