Groenwald plays with broken nose



STORRS, CONN. – There was not much that was going to keep Matt Groenwald from playing against Connecticut at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium Friday night.

But when the graduate student forward broke his nose in an early morning workout, his chances of being active for the match against UConn was in question.

“We were working at having a teammate run at us and working on our heads [turning] backwards and turning and running with them,” Groenwald explained, “and we were on a small field and Petar (Rackovic) and I turned and ran our heads into each other at full speed. He’s got a stronger skull than I do.”

The 5-foot-8 forward saw swelling right away, but the theory of the broken nose was confirmed awhile after.

“Within 10 minutes I was squeezing my nose shut and I could hear four or five cracks,” Groenwald said, “so we kind of figured it was broken. And the doctor confirmed it when we went [to the hospital] about a half hour later.”

When news broke of the Red Storm captain’s injury, John Diffley, St. John’s senior associate athletic director, was phoned in Queens.

Diffley drove up a protective face mask for Groenwald to wear in the game.

But the face guard did not work quite the way Groenwald had hoped.

So Groenwald popped a few aspirin and played without it.

“It was bleeding a lot in the first half, I had to wipe it all off a lot,” Groenwald said. “Good thing we wore red today.”

The Red Storm is only 5-7-1 playing at UConn, but St. John’s leads the all-time series 11-9-3.

“There’s no way I’m not playing at UConn,” Groenwald said. “[In the] last chance I probably get to play against UConn, there was no way I was sitting out.

“They have a great environment here. I just took a lot of aspirin before the game and was ready to go.”