Melanie Glessner has improved her goals-against average to 0.08, the best mark in NCAA Division III.
Melanie Glessner has improved her goals-against average to 0.08, the best mark in NCAA Division III. (Photo Courtesy of York College)

Her right wrist and part of her right hand is wrapped with athletic tape.

So, when offered a handshake, Melanie Glessner first apologizes and offers her left hand instead. The York College goalkeeper already assumes the next question that's coming about her wrist.

"I sprained it during the preseason so I've been putting up with it ever since," she said Tuesday before practice at Graham Field.

The injury, which won't heal until the season is over, makes her recent performances for the Spartans' women's soccer team (5-1-5 overall, 1-0-2 Capital Athletic Conference) even more remarkable.

The 5-foot, 11-inch Glessner has allowed just one goal in York's 11 games this year in her first season as the team's full-time starter. It came in a 1-0 loss at Dickinson nearly a month ago. Since then, the redshirt sophomore has held opponents scoreless over the last 675 minutes and 45 seconds. In the process, Glessner has improved her goals-against average to 0.08, which is the best mark in NCAA Division III. Her save percentage of .977 ranks second in D-III. She has made 42 saves and twice this season has been named the CAC Defensive Player of the Week.

Injuries: Unfortunately for Glessner, her wrist is just another injury on a list that keeps getting longer. Two weeks before her first preseason practice with the Spartans in 2010, Glessner hit a curb while riding a bike on a road at Rehoboth Beach and broke her arm when she tried to brace for the fall.

"And three days after I got the cast off for that one I found out I had a stress fracture in my ankle from the time I broke my ankle the senior year of high school," Glessner said.

The Waldorf, Md., native also rolled her ankle during preseason practice last year and missed some time.

"That's kind of my luck," she said.

Getting stronger: Determined to put the injuries behind her, Glessner used this past offseason to get stronger by sticking to a strict diet and putting herself through vigorous physical routines, that included the popular P90X all-body workouts.

"She knew what was happening to her that she would have injuries so she worked on her own and got stronger in her whole core and everything," Spartans' longtime women's soccer coach Vicki Sterner said.

That's a good sign for a keeper who Sterner said has the natural abilities coaches look for. Sterner said Glessner often reminds her of Amanda Lomberg, who is perhaps the best goalie in the program's history. Though Lomberg still holds several records from the time she played for the Spartans from 2003 to 2006, Glessner has already set a new mark in single-season shutouts (nine) and ties (five). Glessner is also on pace to break Lomberg's single-season save percentage (.899) and Laura Hack's goals-against average (0.43).

"She (Glessner) wants to surpass anything that Amanda did," Sterner said. "That's just her inner drive, that she wants to succeed and be better."

Glessner also credits her success to the strong defense in front of her. That group includes sophomores Jenn Lindsay and Clare Chatham, junior Dale Mason and senior Caitlin Aversa.

"As long as our defense keeps up, that's the most important thing," she said. "I would rather have no saves at all and we still hold them (the opponent) to a zero."

The Spartans will try to do that Wednesday night at Gettysburg before returning for their final regular-season home contest Saturday against conference foe Salisbury (8-3, 3-0). York will then close the regular season with three road games before the CAC Tournament starts Oct. 27.

YORK COLLEGE NOTES

SPARTANS WIN IN FIELD HOCKEY: The York College field hockey team rallied from a 1-0 halftime hole to down DeSales, 2-1, in a non-league contest on Tuesday afternoon in Center Valley. The Spartans got goals from Kailey Brewer and Jillian Brezgel. It was Brewer's sixth goal of the year, while Brezgel now has three goals. Abby Baker got the win in goal, making seven saves. York improved to 7-5, while DeSales fell to 3-8.

VOLLEYBALL TEAM TRIUMPHS: The York women's volleyball team earned a 3-2 non-conference victory over Goucher on Tuesday night in Towson, Md. The Spartans improved to 6-20, while the Gophers fell to 7-18. The game scores were 25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, and 15-8. The Spartans were led by sophomore Katie Huston (10 kills), senior Melissa Patterson (eight kills), freshman Allie Donahue (40 assists, 11 digs), senior Ashley Rineman (23 digs) and senior Dani Mastroieni (20 digs, eight kills).

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.