Rebel Athlete Of The Week Feature
Junior Allen Does More Than Just Anchor UNLV’s Defense
By Sage Sammons, UNLV Athletics Media Relations
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Being a backline defender is an important role but can sometimes be an inglorious position in soccer. It takes a strong person with an extreme passion for soccer to thrive as a defender, and luckily for the UNLV women’s soccer program, junior Caitlin Allen fits the bill perfectly.
“Caitlin has done an unbelievable job,” said head coach Jennifer Klein. “She has always kind of been our anchor in the back that kind of cleans up anything that gets through. She’s a great leader on and off the field. She is super vocal and I expect really good things from her this year.”
But the road to becoming UNLV’s anchor in the back has not been smooth. In her freshman year she injured her shoulder, which put her out for part of the season.
“I was excited last year because I came off of an injury,” said Allen. “I had surgery my freshman year. It was a rough start in the beginning to come back. I was cleared at the end of July so I kind of battled in the beginning. I think I really stepped up and owned my role a little bit and became a leader, and now I’m captain, so I think I did my job.”
Last year Allen bounced back and was able to help out the team tremendously as a sophomore. She earned Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors and was named to the MWC All-Tournament Team. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Third Team.
“Caitlin did great last season,” said Klein. “Unfortunately two years ago we lost her midseason to a shoulder injury and that was a big loss for us in the back. Last year she came back and was super motivated just to kind of get back the time that she lost. She has always done a good job just being a leader back there. She’s received those accolades because she does a good job, is organized and is a very, very tough defender.”
Now that the 2011-year is upon us, Allen and her team have set new goals and she is not shy about her high expectations for the team.
“I’m excited and I think we have a really good chance to not only make it to the conference tournament but to win it also,” said Allen. “Our conference is kind of up in the air right now with the loss of BYU and Utah. So we are ready to snag it, we want to get first place.”
Her personal goals are higher this year as well, after last season when she was able to score her first collegiate goal in the final match of the year.
“I was stoked to get my first goal,” said Allen. “It was a great goal, the ending result wasn’t the best [as UNLV lost to New Mexico 2-1 in double overtime in the MWC tournament] but I was stoked. I’m on the verge of scoring a lot of goals this year, and I’m going to make it happen.”
Away from the pitch Allen likes to get back to her roots. She hails from San Diego and is a self acclaimed “beach bum.” But her love for the outdoors stretches far beyond the sandy shores.
“I’m from San Diego, so I love the beach. I’m a big beach bum and I like to do anything outdoors,” said Allen. “I love to hike. I really like to go to museums, I’m kind of a nerd in that way, but I just enjoy the environment in general.”
Allen and the rest of the women’s soccer team takes to the road this weekend. They will travel to the beaver state to face Portland State and Oregon. The Rebels will next be in action at home on September 16 when they host the UNLV Nike Invitational.