Sydney Ion is having another shutdown season in net, but most of all, she's happy to be healthy.
After battling a shoulder injury for much of her freshman and sophomore seasons, Ion has been locked in, leading Aquinas to a pair of Mississippi Valley Conference titles and a 13-0 mark in conference play so far this season.
"It's really awesome being back on the field with this team," Ion said. "They're a great family to have and a great support system. It's been really great having them all together. Playing a full game with them is awesome."
Ion has surrendered just five goals this season for Aquinas (15-3). Three of the goals came in 1-0 non-conference losses to the ranked clubs of Sugar River, Brookfield Academy and Howards Grove.
"I think it means so much to her. She wants to win so she keeps pushing her team along as much as she can," Blugolds head coach James Lockley said. "She's the last defender back there. The amount of work she puts in away from Aquinas and in the offseason, I feel like that is paying off for her."
Ion said she has also learned the value of teamwork, feeding off her teammates to become a better player.
"My team supports me and I support my team," Ion said. "It's just a one-unit thing. It's just not one person that does all of it. We're all doing it together."
Ion shares a special bond with those who play directly in front of her, including senior defenseman Maeve Miller. The two have played soccer together since elementary school.
"We know she's going to have our backs in any situation really, so we don't have to worry if a shot does get kicked through," Miller said.
"With this group, it's the family bond and how close we are," Ion said. "(We don't) necessarily need to talk, we kind of know where each other are and how we like to play. I think that's what's really helped us, knowing how each of us plays and what we like."
As the postseason nears, Ion is as focused as ever. The Blugolds are looking for a third state title game appearance after winning the title in 2015 (which Ion was a major contributor to after recovering from surgery) and finishing second in 2016.