Returning from a season-ending injury is a monumental task for any athlete.
IU women’s soccer sophomore forward Abby Allen was only seven games into her freshman season when a torn ACL ended her year. The injury, suffered Sept. 11, 2015, at Notre Dame, forced Allen to miss the remainder of the season after starting in four of the team’s first seven matches.
Allen underwent surgery to repair her ACL following the injury and used her time away from the pitch as a learning experience to help improve her game.
“This year, I definitely feel like I’m different overall. I’m a different player in general,” Allen said. “I think being out so long, I just learned a lot from watching and I understand things more tactically now.”
While Allen was unable to score in her seven matches with the team in 2015, the Hoosier offense felt her influence. Allen recorded seven shots on goal last season, the fifth-highest amount among all team members, despite playing in less than 37 percent of the team’s games.
By comparison, three of the four players who registered more shots on goal than Allen last season played in all 19 of IU’s matches.
“Abby is so important to our offense,” IU Coach Amy Berbary said. “She’s just starting to come into her own this season, and I really like what she’s done so far offensively.”
Allen’s first match back from injury was IU’s season opener Aug. 19 at home against Louisville. She recorded two shots in the 1-1 draw, her first competitive match with this year’s roster of players.
“I feel like each day, the offense is getting more comfortable with each other as a group,” Allen said. “Our chemistry is building every day. We are just working as a group to keep meshing and to keep understanding each other as players and how we are going to work together.”
IU’s best offensive display of the season came this past Sunday in a home match against Northern Colorado. Allen fired off three shots, one on goal, as the Hoosiers defeated the Bears 3-0.
Sunday’s match was the fourth match of the season for IU and Allen’s fourth start. She nearly scored her first collegiate goal in the contest, but Northern Colorado junior goalkeeper Madeline Burdick tipped a first-half shot from Allen onto the crossbar.
Berbary said she values Allen’s role with the Hoosier offense, but also keeps in mind Allen has limited playing experience at the collegiate level.
“We are expecting a lot from Abby,” Berbary said. “I think she’s knocking on the door. We are really excited to have her back on the field.”
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