Road To Recovery Was Path To MacMurray For Jett


In a way, Abbi Jett's high school career has been about recovery.

When the 2019 Hillsboro grad entered the girls soccer program in 2016, the Toppers were fresh off a 1-17 season in which they had relinquished 109 goals.

But since then, Jett and her teammates have helped the Lady Hiltoppers recover, making the program one of the best in the South Central Conference over the last four years.

It hasn't been easy though. Jett had to recover from an ACL tear after her junior year. How did she handle it? Pretty well, considering she earned a first team all-conference nod at the goalkeeper position as a senior.

Now, as she leaves the school on the hill, she takes on a new challenge, one that will help others recover as well.

On Friday, May 17, Jett made her college decision official as she decided to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, where she will study in the pre-physical therapy program.

"Whenever I tore my ACL, after surgery, I didn't know I could recover that well," Jett said of why she chose physical therapy. "I like being around John's. I mean, I hate being there because it's hard work, but it gets you so far. When people come in and say 'I can get out of bed today,' it makes you so grateful for what you have and makes you realize that your problems may not be as bad as others."

"John's" refers to John Mekala, the owner and operator of RehabEdge in Hillsboro. Jett gives him much of the credit for getting her back on the pitch after the injury that occurred in Hillsboro's sectional game against St. Thomas More to end her junior year.

"John helped me recover and spent a lot of time with me outside of work to get me prepared for this past season," Jett said.

While Mekala's work may have got her back into the game, Jett's abilities are what have made her an integral part of the Toppers' turnaround.

As a freshman, Jett was a third team all-conference pick, allowing 68 fewer goals than the year before as Hillsboro was a much improved 8-12.

The following year, Jett earned third team honors again, posting a career best eight shutouts and a 1.25 goals against average.

The ACL injury was a tough way to end a spectacular junior season for Jett, who held opponents to a career low 1.2 goals per game with seven shutouts and the program's first regional championship.

She would also earn third team all-conference honors as a junior, but Jett would break the "third time's the charm" mantra in her senior season as she was named to the all-conference team for the fourth time, this time as a first team selection.

In Jett's four years in net for Hillsboro, the Toppers would accumulate 46 wins, 27 shutouts and have a goals against average of 1.475, giving up just 118 goals, only nine more than they allowed in 2015 alone.

She hasn't done it alone though, as she credits her family and friends for their support in her success in the present and path in the future.

"My family, my mom, dad and sister. They really helped me with the college search and were really supportive, whether I played soccer or not," Jett said of who had helped her the most. "And my friends, of course, who have always cheered me on and built up my confidence, even when I was at my lowest point."

That support has led her to a school that she believes will give her the best chance at success, both on the field and in her career.

"I chose MacMurray because of the soccer team. The coach has been in contact with me for the last two years and it seems like he cares about your academics and puts those first," Jett explained. "The team really seems to be strongly built, chemistry-wise. It just seemed like the best fit for me."

Jett acknowledges that it will be a tough road with a lot of schooling, but even if she slips, over the last four years, Jett has shown she has the ability to recover.


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