Scary soccer thought: St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura's Gust is back to 100 percent
Makadyn Gust, a St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura junior soccer goalie, has healed from a torn labrum injury. That means the All-State player might be at an entirely new level this season.
ST. CHARLES — The plan hadn’t been to make Makadyn Gust a goalie.
She was playing forward as an eighth-grader for the St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura girls soccer team, using all of the athleticism she possesses to be a force on the field. But then it happened. The evening of Sept. 3, 2019, starting goalie Olivia Drath was hit with a season-ending injury about 15 minutes into a game against powerhouse Winona Cotter.
Fully aware of Gust’s ability to do just about anything athletically, the St. Charles/L-A coaching staff told her to slip into a goalie’s long-sleeved shirt, slide on those big goalie gloves, and get in front of the Saints’ net.
They’ve not been tempted to move her away from the goalie box since. A year ago, Gust was named second-team All-State as a goalie, accomplishing it despite suffering from a torn labrum in her right shoulder. She played through it.
“Cotter was one of the best teams in our section at the time (in 2019), so I was definitely nervous when I went in to play goalie,” recalled Gust, also a standout basketball and softball player. “But they just told me not to let the ball go into the back of the net.”
The St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura coaches had accepted an offer Gust made the first week of practice that season. They did it knowing she had the goods to do just what she’d proposed.
“I had told the coaches that I was willing to step up and play any position they needed me to,” Gust said. “But playing goalie was really different because I’d never done it before. It was weird putting on those goalie gloves. They increase your hand size by about two times.”
Turned out that playing the position was both exhausting and exhilarating for Gust, particularly because it was a potent Cotter offense that she was facing. The Ramblers peppered the St. Charles/L-A goalie, firing one shot after the other at her. She stopped all but two of them.
Gust couldn’t recall ever feeling so alive on a soccer pitch.
“I was flying all over the place, grabbing all kinds of (shots),” Gust said. “My teammates were encouraging me because they knew I’d never played goalie before. Everyone was screaming and clapping after every save. I’d been thrown in against one of the best teams in the state. It was really fun. I like to be in the action.”
Gust truly is all about athletic action. She is a girl for three seasons and a star in all of them.
There was a missed season last year, Gust sidelined for all of the basketball campaign after having surgery on a labrum she’d torn the summer of 2021 while playing softball. Gust didn’t know there had been any tear until halfway through last soccer season when pain in the shoulder was unceasing and she finally had things checked out at Mayo Clinic.
That's when the torn labrum was discovered. Surgery was planned for as soon as the soccer season ended.
Tough to watch
It meant the St. Charles phenom would be on the shelf from November until April. It drove her nuts.
“To be out for six months, that was extremely tough,” Gust said. “I’m not used to not being active. It was especially tough to have to watch basketball practices. I always want to run around.”
After being cleared to play softball last spring, Gust has been running around ever since.
St. Charles/L-A soccer coach Taige Puetz is thrilled and relieved at that. She’s got something special in Gust, who is the fastest, strongest, best leaper and likely most aggressive player on the team.
“She is a natural athlete and has that competitive drive to always strive to be the best,” Puetz said. “Plus, she’s fearless and naturally seems to know what to do. I think it is her ability to read the game and know the game without me having to break it down for her which is best. She figures out the angles and makes the adjustments.”
Gust finished with more than 100 saves in goal last year for the Saints, a team that finished 10-6-1 overall. She did that despite compensating for a torn labrum the entire time.
It’s left Puetz wondering what she might do this season. She’s healthy again.
“It makes me want to see if she has another level,” Puetz said. “It’s left me wondering if there were some saves she didn’t make last year that she will make this season.”
If you're anybody but St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura, that’s a frightening thought.