University of Colorado women's soccer player Kahlia Hogg knows that second chances don't come around often.
During her senior year in 2015, Hogg played in six games before she developed a severe stress fracture in her shin that caused her to miss the rest of the season. But luckily for her, Hogg was just under the playing time cutoff to be eligible for a medical redshirt, the only thing that could allow her to return to play for the Buffaloes as a fifth-year senior this fall.
Given a second chance at a senior year, Hogg's 2016 season is a blessing.
"For me personally, I feel incredibly grateful for being rewarded a fifth season," Hogg said. "I played just the maximum amount of games to qualify for a redshirt so that's an incredible opportunity. The team didn't finish how we wanted to at the end of last season so for me this an opportunity not just to play personally but to help take the team back to the NCAA tournament."
After reaching the NCAA tournament in 2013 and 2014, the Buffs fell well short of that goal in 2015. Along with Hogg's return to the field, the Buffs are hoping to rebound from last year's trying campaign.
During last season's disappointing 7-10-3 campaign, the Buffs were 4-1-1 when Hogg played and 3-9-2 after her injury. Having graduated seven seniors from last year's club, they're certainly happy to have Hogg back. Going 4-0-2 during this year's spring season, including wins over Nebraska, Colorado College, Denver and Air Force, has left the Buff optimistic about the upcoming months.
"As a team, the biggest thing is we want to go from being a bottom Pac-12 team, which goes against where we've been the past year years, to back into our winning ways in the Pac-12," Hogg said. "We want to not just make the NCAA tournament but progress through as far as we can."
The Buffs return four starters this season, several of whom gained valuable experience while playing for U-20 national teams over the summer. The club will be bolstered by a well-regarded recruiting class that includes 10 new freshmen or transfer players.
"Obviously, we graduated some really good players but we feel really good about the players we have back," Buffs head coach Danny Sanchez said at media day on Friday. "The question is at the back, which was a concern last year with depth after Kahlia got hurt. Kahlia will tell you she's a midfielder, I'll tell you she's a back. We'll keep having that conversation as we get through the preseason but Kahlia is versatile. She can play along any line."
The Buffs are 43-32-10 under Sanchez, who is entering his fifth season as head coach at Colorado.