Cavalier Corner

June 2017

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cavalier profile MCKALL MILLER Fourth-Year • Softball It was impossible to predict the events that shaped McKall Miller's final sea- son as a member of the UVA softball team. On March 10, in the first game of a home doubleheader against Boston Col- lege, the starting shortstop attempted to snag a routine ground ball. Her foot slid in the wet grass as her knee buckled inward. "I didn't swell immediately and none of the popping really happened, so everyone thought it was a minor injury," Miller said. Even though Miller's symptoms didn't appear to be severe on the surface, the MRI results were crippling. Her ACL was completely torn. For most athletes, this kind of injury means surgery and a rigorous season-long recovery. Emotions flooded the fourth-year's mind like a terrible dream that wouldn't leave. "I had gotten my hopes up that everything would be okay," Miller said. "When I found out it was torn, I quickly thought, 'Was that the last time I'll ever be on the field?'" While it wouldn't be easy, the UVA athletic trainers immediately presented Miller with an alternative to surgery. They were encouraged by how her body responded to the initial tear and felt like she could rehab enough to be able to contribute on the field, while postponing the operation until after the season. In the 14 games Miller missed while she rehabbed, the Hoos struggled mightily with a 2-12 record. On April 4, she returned to the lineup as the des- ignated player and helped Virginia rewrite the narrative. Miller helped UVA upset No. 14 James Madison, win eight of its final 11 games and qualify for the ACC Tournament for the first time in four years. She earned ACC Player of the Week honors April 22, and was in the lineup for 20 of Virginia's 22 wins. Miller closed out the year with a .327 batting average, eight home runs and 24 RBI. "I honestly wouldn't change any of it for the world," Miller said. "Facing things later in life aren't going to compare to the experiences I gained in those last few months. It was so great to go from 'I might be done,' to 'I made it this far.' "This is exactly how I pictured my senior year going." — Sean Labar ◆ Photo by Jim Daves/courtesy UVA JUNE 2017 ◆ 31

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