Dee Allen is the goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team. She has been recognized three times this season as the HCAC Defensive Player of the Week, and has not allowed more than one goal in a conference game this season. The senior has helped manufacture nine shutouts in 15 games and has been a key part of the teams record-breaking season.
Last year you were the backup goalie and didn’t see any playing time. What did you do to prepare yourself for the starting role?
At the end of my junior year, the coaching staff told me I was probably going to be playing. After the school year ended and over the whole summer, I put in a whole bunch of work and worked out a lot. Then I came back this year and I’ve been playing pretty well.
What is it like to have been recognized three times this year for being the conference defensive player of the week?
It’s an amazing feeling. For me not playing at all last year and then this year actually being noticed by people and getting recognized, it’s a great feeling.
Tell me about the team this year and what it’s like to be part of it.
Our concept this year is FAMILY. That stands for friendship, accountability, mentality, intentionality, love and “What’s your why?” What’s your why is just basically, “Why do you play?” “What pushes you to keep going?” We are pretty much one big family as a team. We are always there for each other. There has been a lot of things that our team has gone through, with injuries, deaths in the family or other things like that. We really came together well as a family and are there for each other whenever we need it.
You guys have had an amazing start to the season. What has contributed to that?
Our hard work mostly. Honestly, during our pre-season we had someone come in named Coach Donna, but we call her “Big D.” She played on the first women’s soccer team here, and she is a spokesperson and coach to us. She came for a week straight before the season and we did a lot of activities, got a lot better and really grew closer together before school started. I think that has really helped us out from a chemistry standpoint.
The team started the conference season achieving four games without a goal allowed. Who on the team has contributed the most to that?
I give it to my defense. They’re the biggest reason that I haven’t been scored on a lot so far this season. We have a really strong back line and they’ve been great so far this season. I also give a lot of credit to our offense, too because they possess the ball so well during the game. They don’t allow the other team to get a whole lot of chances. It’s a whole team effort to hold a team to no goals.
You guys have received a lot of individual and team attention this year. The team is off to the best start in program history. You guys have been ranked in the top 10 for this region and you personally have received three Conference Player of the Week awards. How has the team handled the added pressure this year?
We’re all very excited about it. We never really have been recognized like this before so everyone is really happy about it. We try to not let it distract us, but we’re definitely excited and happy with the attention we have received. I think before the season we knew that we would be a strong team and possibly get this far. We have a lot of seniors who believe in themselves, and with me especially, I knew that I was going to play at a high level this season. I hate getting scored on so I work my hardest to try and keep the ball out of the net.
The team struggled with consistency last year. What has changed from last year to this year with you guys being able to rack up so many wins?
The people that played last year and graduated are gone. I’m not saying any of them were a problem, I just think that we have so many players in the right positions playing at a high level so far this season. We’ve really been able to pick up all the pieces and get it together. We have a lot of experience out there and we only have a few people who start that aren’t seniors. There are 11 of us and we have really been able to play well this year together.
What are your personal and team goals for the rest of the year?
Team-wise, I want us to continue to keep winning and finish out strong in these next couple of games. Our conference is very strong this year so despite our great start, we have to finish strong if we want to make the conference tournament. Only four teams get in so we really need to stick with it and finish strong. My personal goal all season has been to not let anything in the goal and that’ll be it for the rest of the year.
Tell me more about the personal goal you mentioned.
I take it personally when a goal is scored and I hate that feeling. I don’t care how many goals we score; my mission is to keep everything that comes my way out of the net. So far this season I’ve been pretty successful in doing that, but there’s been a few times I let one get by.
Looking at the upcoming schedule against Rose-Hulman and Bluffton, how will you guys try to keep things rolling to finish the season strong?
These were the same two teams we played last year at the end when we had to win to make the conference tournament. We came out strong in both of those games and got the wins when we needed to. While this year isn’t exactly like last year I think we need to do the exact same thing and never come out flat and expect to win. We can’t get cocky, we have to deserve and earn our wins if we want to keep going.