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Senior goalkeepers lead the way
Competing since the young ages of eight and four in the sport they love, senior goalies Jenna Lawless and Heather Allen look to help carry the women’s soccer team to the NEC tournament and finish out their college careers in the NCAA tournament.
Both athletes have played a significant role on the team, and head coach Dave Clarke remains happy with their performances and improvements in the four years he has coached them.
Allen, who early on in her career was lower on the chain of three or four goalies, has moved up in her senior year, starting games in goal while also playing in the field in some contests.
“Heather’s improved tremendously,” says Clarke. “She wouldn’t let us down in some of these games we were blown out in.”
This year, Allen was expected to compete for her position in the net, rather than settling for second best. She fought for her position and has made some starts in goal.
“She’s come a long way in the four years,” said Clarke.
Lawless, on the other hand, has held the starting keeper position all four years of her career. She has seen some tough competition and has made numerous big saves, such as in the NCAA tournament against Long Island University, which kept the team in the game.
“Like any goal keeper, she has her strengths and weaknesses,” says Clarke. “She’s kept us in a lot of important games. In the time that she’s been here, she’s definitely been the number one goalkeeper.”
Despite several early season losses, the players hold on to a positive outlook for the remainder of the season.
“We just need to get our heads in it and get to the NEC tournament,” said Lawless. “Then it’s a brand new season from there.”
According to Allen, the team is playing very well overall, but needs to improve its offense.
“We need to connect upfront offensively,” said Allen.
Through all the years of hard work and dedication, Allen says that training hard with all those years of ODP, and just making it to this level, stands as the key milestone in her career.
Lawless, a 2001 NEC Player of the Week, looks to her previous experience in the NCAA tournament, where the team scored against Loyola in overtime to make it into the tournament.
“It’s something you never think of when you’re littlem” said Lawless. “It’s a great feeling when you get there.”
The players are looking forward to another chance at earning a “W” against in-state rivals Central Connecticut State.