ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (NEWS10) — Our local teams in the Capital Region couldn’t make it past the MAAC quarterfinals but a local player did them one better. The Quinnipiac junior and former Shenendehowa star bowed out in the MAAC semifinals on Friday, but the mere fact that she was with her team ready to play is a massive accomplishment.

“To be able to experience the tournament with my teammates, this is some of the most fun that I’ve ever had with my teammates so that’s kind of what I’m taking away from all of this even when we’re leaving with a disappointing loss,” Cat Almeida said.

After finding her footing in the college game her freshman year, Almeida faced one of the biggest tests one can face: she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October of 2020. After a pair of surgeries, she was declared cancer-free in April 2021, but the journey back to the court has been anything but smooth.

“That kid—I swear, if she didn’t have bad luck, she would have no luck!” said Trish Almeida, Cat’s mother. “For her to get through three-hour practices now, when at first it was like ‘Mom, I can practice once this week because every level was off.'”

As if she didn’t go through enough, setbacks with a concussion and COVID after conquering cancer has made Cat’s road back even rockier, but there she was Friday with the Bobcats. “My personal journey has been really great to get to this point,” she said. “I’m still working every day.”

“Unbelievably proud of her and her resilience, that’s the word that I would use to describe her,” Trish said.

Cat has taken it all in stride, and stays focused on what’s important to her: bringing a chip to Quinnipiac.

“I am proud of where I’ve come,” Cat said. “I hope that’s inspiring for other people cause not necessarily have I had the career that maybe others thought I would have, but I’m happy how everything has turned out personally. Just trying to get a ring.”