During the fall season, CisternYard Sports will feature a weekly story on a different student athlete at the College of Charleston that our sports staff thinks you should know. This week, we highlight Allison Sender from the women’s soccer team.
When Charleston head coach Christian Michner decided to move Allison Sender to defense in her freshman year at the College, he made a high risk investment along the back line that has paid huge dividends.
“I was actually recruited as a left midfield or left forward, then just one random game he threw me in at defense and it stuck,” Sender said.
Changing positions when entering a new system may not seem like a big change, but Sender had an illustrious career before she ever stepped foot on the facilities at Patriots Point.
Growing up in Strongsville, Ohio, Sender helped her club soccer team to victories in the Ohio state title seven times in eight years. During that run, the team also won the US Club V Cup national championship and the Super Y North American Championship.
As a four year letter winner for Strongsville High School, she saw the team to three sectional crowns, a state championship and state runner-up finish. The team was also ranked #1 in the country by in the NSCAA.
Sender was heavily recruited due to her team’s many accomplishments, which led to her building a relationship with Charleston’s current head coach Christian Michner.
“It was funny, he was actually recruiting me from Illinois when he coached there. So it’s kind of weird how it worked out, how both ended up coming here.”
With a number of offers on the table during the recruiting process, her trip to Charleston made her decision a lot easier.
“I came down here, met with the coaches and I just fell in love with the staff, the facilities, the school and the city. Everything about Charleston was exactly what I was looking for.”
Despite changing positions, Sender made a smooth transition to the speed of the game at the college level. She played in all 20 of the team’s matches, tallying over 75 minutes per game. The team finished in the middle of the pack finish in their final year in the Southern Conference (7-12-1).
After moving into the Colonial Athletic Association for the 2013 campaign, the team took a step back (2-14-1), as the level of play in the conference was higher than that of the SoCon.
Despite the team’s struggles, Sender displayed some of her skills as a former upfield player, to help bolster the attack from the back.
“They encourage me to go up. The way we play they want the wide backs to get up into the attack as much as possible.”
Last year, the team showed promise down the stretch with a young core (7-11-1). The team fell just shy of qualifying for the conference tournament despite winning their final two games of the year. After graduating just one senior from their starting lineup, the Cougars seems primed for their first CAA conference tournament run.
“My senior class is a really strong class,” Sender said. “I think that we have a big impact on our team. We also have a bunch of younger players that have key roles and I think that they are just stepping up into those roles and maturing as players.”
The team has fared well to begin this season. They had an early season three game win streak, prior to a 1-0 loss to Fordham on Sunday. The game was twice delayed due to thunder, which cost the College a good deal of their offensive momentum.
Much of their early season success is thanks to consistent defense. Through five games they have allowed just 4 goals. This success has the team confident on their outlook for the rest of the season.
“We want to win the conference,” Sender said. “Right now, everyone’s where they have to be soccer wise, and we’re only going to get better.”
The Cougars had an early season three game win streak, prior to a 1-0 loss to Fordham on Sunday. The game was twice delayed due to thunder, which cost the College a good deal of their offensive momentum. They are currently 3-2, with a trip to Stetson on tap for Friday, Sept. 11 (7 pm).