Nicole Grossbard took the floor at Dominican College in Orangeburg Monday, just down the road from her high school home floor at Pearl River.
She is back at the point, setting the offense and harassing opposing guards, but now it was for Division II to improve its record to 4-5.
Grossbard moved into the starting lineup three games into the season and she averages 5.3 points and 3.4 assists for the Owls.
"It's a big opportunity," Grossbard said of her quick move into the starting lineup. "I had no idea that was going to happen, but I think I needed (those two early games) to watch and see how our other point guard, Mariah (Hankton) plays. I'm able to get her the ball well and she's a great scorer, so it works."
Grossbard spent part of the second half with a trainer helping her stretch out her . She said she just has to work at keeping the knee loose as she works her way back.
Grossbard spent that senior season watching and helping where she could, effectively serving as another coach for the Pirates as they won the Section 1 Class A championship and reached the state semifinals. She insists that the year on the sidelines made her a better player.
"It didn't benefit me physically, but mentally I learned so much from my year off," Grossbard said. "I was able to see things I wouldn't have been able to see had I not hurt my knee. Obviously, it's not how I wanted my senior year to go, but without it, I wouldn't be where I am today. If (Coach Meghan Brown) says something to me, I can just see it because I saw it for a whole year."
Brown praised the way Grossbard has fit in as one of six freshmen on the roster.
"She's doing a great job for us," Brown said. "She had a lot of growing pains early, especially coming back from her ACL tear and coming up to the college level and the intensity and what we need her to do for us to be effective. I know at times it can be overwhelming and a lot for her, but she has some great days. She always bounces back. She's coachable and she listens. She beats herself up too much, but we're working on that.
"She's very capable. I love her vision. I love how she sees the floor. Love how she sets the tempo. She’s' a hard worker and she's going to fight. Any coach would want a point guard with those characteristics to carry a team. I'm happy to have her."
Grossbard said the transition to playing at the college level has been a challenge, more so than the return after a year away from the game.
"Going from high school to college is another world, but I have a really good support system here and they help me through it," Grossbard said. "I would not want to be anywhere else. This team is so close and such good friends. You know we have each other's backs at all times. We grow together."