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Following the ‘blueprint’
By Nick Sczerbinski, QBSN Staff Writer
“Without a goal scorer, an assist is just a pass,” Sarah Allen said.
The wise words from then-junior Allen after she broke the NCAA single-season record for assists per game are a prime example of the mantra that she made her own.
It is only fitting that exactly one year later, Allen, the player described by coaches and teammates as selfless, genuine and uplifting, set the Quinnipiac program record in total career points with an assist.
“She’s the most selfless player I’ve ever played with and she always looks to pass,” Allen’s backup Kayla Fu said, “She has evolved so much over the time that we’ve played together.”
It was Fu’s goal with four minutes left in a game against Wagner that turned an Allen pass into an assist, one that marked her 176th career point and moved her past Allen’s former mentor, Katie Latonick, for the all-time record.
Latonick was a senior when Allen played her first year at Quinnipiac, and it’s no surprise that the players’ careers have turned out so similar.
“Getting Sarah to watch Katie play and play with her was invaluable to Sarah’s development,” head coach Danie Caro said. “Katie was a good leader and mentor, she gave Sarah a blueprint to follow, and she’s definitely followed it.”
To Caro, the blueprint may have related to the field and the game. For Allen, it was much more.
“I watched Katie play from day one; she was always the person that I wanted to be,” Allen said. “Breaking her record is special to me. I saw her after I broke it, and she was really happy for me, so it means a lot.”
Aside from the poetic justice in Allen’s record-breaking point, it was equally fitting that Kayla Fu was the one to finish the play. Fu is poised to fill the void left by Allen in the 2014 season, but knows it won’t be easy.
“It’s definitely a lot to live up to, so I’ll really have to step it up,” Fu said. “It actually makes me a little bit nervous, but I’m ready.”
Allen’s teammates and coaches agree that she is as good, if not better, off the field as she is on it.
“Sarah is just a wonderful human being,” Caro said. “And the way she has befriended the younger players and been such a role model for them, showing them how to be better people, has been really helpful to our team.”
One of those younger players had the benefit to learn from Allen before Quinnipiac was even a flicker on her horizon.
Freshman Katie DeVito was a junior varsity lacrosse player at Glastonbury High School and sat in the bleachers watching her role model lead the varsity team to a 16-3 record and a conference championship.
“Whenever I would get the chance to play in high school, I would always say, ‘Sarah was here on the field’ and ‘Sarah did this from this spot,’” DeVito said. “I always strived to try to get to that level. She was a big role model, and I really look up to her.”
Four years later, DeVito is in position to compete with Fu for Allen’s former spot, feeding cutters from behind the opposing goal, and the freshman welcomes the opportunity.
“It’s fun and exciting to think that I could maybe take her place when she leaves,” DeVito said.
While some athletes may be sentimental or resentful when thinking about their “spot” being filled, Allen continuously shows that she is a rare breed.
“I appreciate seeing everyone have success, and with assists, two people get credit instead of one,” Allen said. “Your team is your family, so seeing everyone happy and successful, even after I’m gone, just means so much to me.”
Will her records be beaten? Not even Allen can answer that, but you can bet she will be more than happy for whichever teammate does it.
In mid-May, Allen will wrap up her degree in Sociology and Education. She will trade the green turf for the green chalkboard, the goals and assists for quizzes and tests, and teammates for students. But no matter how far she gets from the game of lacrosse, the name Sarah Allen will be etched in the Quinnipiac record books for quite some time.