Allen reflects on her 5 year career
Ben Martin – Sports Writer
After losing back-to-back Northeast 10 conference championship games to The College of Saint Rose Golden Knights, Goalie Abby Allen has come back for a fifth season in a goal to complete the journey she started her freshman year.
Although Allen still needed to complete her teaching certification, she had to come back for another year and was excited to see another year of eligibility left to work. She did not want to end on losing back-to-back finals.
“Personally, I never felt like I fulfilled my role here, so coming back for another year has allowed me to just go nuts,” Allen said.
With the extra year Allen was granted due to COVID-19 cutting out the 2020 season, she has been “going nuts.” This season, Allen has 76 saves and 11 goals allowed across her 15 games played. Out of the 15 games Allen has played this season, seven were shutouts including four in a row from September 4- through 7.
“I think it started with more confidence,” Allen said. “I came in the year with the better idea that I am going to play, and my team needs me.”
Allen said that confidence started to build in the spring when she was playing different games. In one of those games, something clicked for Allen.
“I was doing everything right. I was communicating, I was loud, I was coming out for crosses, I was being aggressive,” Allen said. “It all just kind of clicked in that if I be that person that is what the team needs and that is what I can do.”
Allen having everything click and being more confident in herself has paid off for her teammates on the women’s soccer team; in particular, back Julia Alicea, a senior.
Although Alicea is playing “back” this season for the Owls, which is a defensive position, all her life prior to this point she played the position of forward which dominates the offensive workload in soccer. That was a big adjustment for Alicea in her soccer career and she credits Allen for making it easier.
“I have been a forward my whole life, so having Abby Allen direct me and call me to be where I need to be or just give me some sort of direction while I am on the field if I look lost,” Alicea said. “It is honestly really helpful having her back there.”
Along with Allen acting as a guide for Alicea in her spot on the field, Allen has encouraged the new defender throughout her college career and Alicea has remembered those memories to this day.
“This past season we were playing at Assumption (University) and I was not having the best game,” Alicea said. “She came up to me at half-time and was encouraging me throughout the game. She really tried to instill a lot of confidence in me and tell me to be as confident in me as she was.”
Along with making Alicea feel more confident and comfortable in her new role, having Allen back in goal has made her coach, Adam Cohen, more confident in his team both defensively and offensively.
“It just adds a sense of calm for the entire group,” Cohen said. “I think having a quality goalkeeper like Abby is really important for the success of the team.”
Although Allen is trying to write a satisfying end to her soccer journey, she is still a student athlete with academics coming before sports. Allen came back as a graduate student with her main priority being to get her teaching certification, but she has to balance that with her athletics which is a problem all student athletes face.
“I think it really just comes down to making a schedule and just sticking to it,” Allen said. “I knew when I had class, I knew when I had free time, and I knew when I had practice and I made sure that each one had their own time and the appropriate amount of time.”
Along with being a student and a soccer player, Allen also held an on-campus job for the past four years. Allen was a tutor in the math emporium at the university which added another ball for her to juggle in her schedule. This year as a graduate student, Allen has added another responsibility to the mix.
“Now as I am a grad student, I have been able to actually be a professor for a course,” Allen said.
Adding being a professor into the mix makes Allen add another thing into her schedule.
Although Allen has a lot on her plate, she still has time to do the things she likes outside of academics and soccer. According to her coach, one of those things is spending time with her dog.
“She comes with picture of her favorite dog all the time,” Coach Cohen said. “I get regular pictures of her dog; we all love that.”