Senior midfielder Trenton Titus returns from a hip flexor injury to help lead his team in conference play.
Courtesy: APU Sports Information

After spending the majority of the 2012 season sidelined following surgery on a torn hip labrum as well as missing the first few weeks of the 2013 season with a sprained MCL, senior midfielder Trenton Titus finally returned to action on Monday, Sept. 9 against Hope International.

Titus, who earned all-GSAC honors in 2011 and finished second on the Cougars with five assists, suffered a season-ending injury after just three matches last year. Opting for surgery on a hip that was progressively getting worse, Titus was able to retain his last season of eligibility while sitting out the season as a redshirt.

“Missing the whole season and having surgery was difficult physically and mentally, but I handled it pretty well and tried to stay positive,” Titus said.

Since Titus was a leader and top player of the team, the Cougars were forced to refocus their play without him.

“Trenton is very tough, and a great competitor. He handled the injury very well, but losing his quickness and his quickness of his passing were things that we had to adjust to without him,” head coach Dave Blomquist said. “With him in the game, we move the ball at a higher rate.”

According to Blomquist, the team had some difficulty working through the loss of its star player.

“It was tough without him, but we had guys that stepped up and all did a little more. Guys like Steven Shiokari really played well and showed their leadership,” Blomquist said.

After nearly five months of recovery and rehab, the senior applied exercise science major was able to get back into soccer-specific workouts and prepare for the 2013 season. Titus said it took eight months to feel 100 percent ready to go.

Coming into this season, Titus has high hopes for a successful senior year for himself and the team, with the squad coming off two consecutive playoff appearances.

“I felt amazing coming into this season,” Titus said. “I know we have work to do and I’m ready to be more of a vocal leader and keep other guys accountable.”

This season did not get off to the start that Titus wanted. To add to the frustration of missing the majority of 2012 with an injury, Titus suffered a mild sprain, which forced him to miss the first three weeks.

“When it happened, I thought, ‘Oh no, not again,’” Titus said. “But again I just tried to stay positive and was able to work through it.”

Blomquist believes that Titus, finally healthy and ready to go, can make an impact this season.

“Him coming back from surgery has been amazing,” Blomquist said. “The level of his game has returned to where he was prior, if not at a higher level. He is one of the best we have in this group and is playing with a great mentality as well as being a team leader.”

During the Sept. 14 game against Concordia, he was able to create a pair of nice scoring chances as well as get off an aggressive shot from the top of the box that barely missed.

Titus proved he has bounced back in the two games the men’s soccer team played in northern California this past week, beating both Holy Names and the Academy of Art by 1-0.