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Walk-Benitez back in goal for Norristown

WEST NORRITON >> It’s been a long, hard path back onto the soccer field for Norristown’s Aaliyah Walk-Benitez, but the senior has been fearless.

“She really puts her body out there, her heart out there. She will put everything out for the team,” said her coach, Lisa Noce.

Walk-Benitez had been active in sports since a young age. She started playing softball at the age of four.

She also went on to play soccer and basketball. But during her sophomore year at Norristown, Walk-Benitez suffered three concussions — two from soccer and one from softball.

Due to the concussions, the versatile performer was no longer allowed to play softball and soccer.

“It’s been a challenge,” she said of the last two years, “a hard challenge.”

Through physical therapy and working out at home, however, the senior was cleared by her doctor to play, with caution. She wears a protective headband when she suits up for soccer.

“It was hard but I had to push through it,” she said of her recovery.

So on Tuesday night at Norristown, as the Eagles welcomed Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Perkiomen Valley, Walk-Benitez was out there on Senior Night, playing goalie for the Eagles. She served as the backbone and spirit of the defense.

“Some of the stops, she just throws herself,” Noce said, “and takes the ball off the girl’s foot on a breakaway. It’s incredible.”

“I love it,” the goalie said of being back out on the field.

There were posters celebrating each of Norristown’s seniors and plenty of hugs and high-fives to go around. Walk-Benitez was glad to be sporting her goalie jersey again this season, glad to be with her fellow seniors.

“We just grew a bond and a relationship over the years,” said Walk Benitez, who hopes to play in college.

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