Allegheny's Thiessen aiming for encore to stellar freshman season
Allegheny sophomore Jessie Thiessen (Fox Chapel) led the North Coast Athletic Conference with 11 goals in 2013. She was named the conference's newcomer of the year and earned first-team all-NCAC honors. Photo by Allegheny College Athletics
By Chuck Curti| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 8:49 p.m.
Updated 2 hours ago
Members of the Allegheny women's soccer team had just arrived on campus last week when coach Michael Webber approached sophomore Jessie Thiessen. Webber wanted to make sure his top player was ready to tackle a season of new challenges.
Thiessen, a Fox Chapel graduate, led the Gators and the conference in goals (11) and points (28) to earn North Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year honors as well as a spot on the NCAC first team. This year, she'll garner a lot more attention from the opposition.
Additionally, the Gators return a team loaded with underclassmen who will be looking to defend an NCAC title.
“I'm not a freshman anymore, so I'm hoping to pick it up to the next level,” said Thiessen, also a defender on the Allegheny women's lacrosse team. “I just made sure I came in in shape and ... do everything I can to be ready.
“I don't want to look at last year and take it for granted. I want to prove myself again.”
Webber knew he was getting a talent in Thiessen after watching her during her sophomore year at Fox Chapel. But Webber could not have predicted the outburst she had as a college freshman.
She scored her first goal in her second game. Then, against nationally ranked Johns Hopkins two matches later, Webber watched Thiessen turn the corner on the Blue Jays' left outside back and send a shot on goal.
That's when he knew her season could be special.
“That's an exceptional season for any player, let alone a first-year player coming in,” Webber said. “She puts herself in perfect situations. She does those little things. But if you get her one on one on the flank, she's going to get to the goal, and she's going to finish.”
During lacrosse season, Thiessen's primary job is to prevent goals rather than score them — though she tallied four goals last year. She started 10 of the Gators' 17 matches on defense, and being on that side of the action, she said, helps her in soccer.
One of the areas she would like to see her soccer improve is on defense. She said body positioning is similar in both sports, and on defense, she's able to see gaps, passing lanes and other subtleties she might otherwise miss.
And though she describes herself as “busier than most people,” she sees playing two sports as a benefit.
“I think it helps me academic-wise because I'm on a set schedule, and it keeps me focused,” she said. “It keeps me more organized.”
Keeping the team organized also might be on her agenda. Given the success she had last year and the number of young players on the Gators' roster, Thiessen is preparing to take on more of a leadership role.
Part of that is knowing she doesn't have to carry the team. She knows she will be expected to score, no doubt, but she also knows she has plenty of help.
“I try not to put too much pressure on myself because I think if I get too nervous about it I won't play as well,” she said. “But it's not just me. It's the whole team. I'm really confident that any girl on this team can score the goals. It's a team sport, and that's what I love about it.”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.