Lindsey Allen of Jay plays for the Thomas College women’s lacrosse team after not playing the sport in high school.
WATERVILLE — When the Thomas College women’s lacrosse players were picking team captains for the 2017 season, they all agreed upon Spruce Mountain graduate Lindsey Allen.
“I allow the team to vote and give reasons why they vote for the person that they vote for. She was unanimously voted,” Thomas coach Peri West said. “Not a single player did not vote for her. That’s pretty rare.”
Perhaps more surprising is that Allen, a senior midfielder, is even on the team.
Again, she graduated from Spruce Mountain High School in 2013 — Spruce Mountain doesn’t have a lacrosse program. She played tennis and soccer for the Phoenix.
The Jay native continued her tennis career in college. Soccer and tennis are both played during the fall at Thomas, so to fill the team-sport void, Allen tried out and made the lacrosse team prior to her junior season.
“I had never played before I came Thomas,” Allen said. “I was looking for a field sport, so I could get out and be on a team that was a little different than tennis. That was how I chose lacrosse, and I thought I’d be good at it.”
She had never watched lacrosse, and had never picked up a stick. She also didn’t know any of her new lacrosse teammates well.
“I didn’t really have much connection to it,” Allen said.
Now, in only her second year playing the sport, Allen is one of two team captains.
“They all put down the reason they voted for her is she’s positive,” West said. “She’s a positive leader, she’s encouraging. That’s also really rare for a beginner in a sport, because how do you have a senior become a leader, become a captain, and then lead and instruct or tell somebody that’s experienced in the sport what to do? She’s able to manage that, and she’s gotten their respect.”
Scoring leader, too
Allen calls herself “a natural leader” — she also was a captain for the tennis team — and she liked that being on a team allowed her to put that into practice. So it makes sense that’s she’s taken a leadership role with the Terriers (1-5).
There’s more than intangibles, though: she’s actually good at lacrosse. She was a starter last year, and heading into Saturday’s road game against Johnson State, Allen’s seven goals this season ranked second on the Terriers. She also leads the team with two assists, and is tied for the overall scoring lead with nine.
“She’s one of our go-tos,” West said.
West is in her first year at Thomas, having been hired last June. She quickly learned about her players, and during the fall, decided to go watch Allen play tennis.
“The minute I saw her, I was like, oh, my God; thank God she plays lacrosse because she’s a natural athlete,” West said.
“I could see it, just watching her play tennis: good footwork, and then she’s got a tennis racket in her hand, so putting a stick in her hand hopefully could translate well. So I thought, you know, this is definitely a huge positive for us.”
The rules of lacrosse confused Allen at first, but otherwise she says the transition has been smooth.
“I think I picked it up really quickly, so it’s fairly easy for me,” she said. “I started last year and everything, so I was coming into this year almost feeling like I had more experience than I actually did.”
West said that Allen’s attitude and dedication have helped her adapt to lacrosse. She said it’s rare for an athlete to pick up the sport in college, and even more rare that the athlete sticks with it.
“For a new player, lacrosse is a very difficult sport to pick up. She (Allen) made that sound easy,” West said.
“It’s very, very difficult to catch and throw — if you can’t catch and throw, you can’t do much. So people get frustrated really, really easily, and often quit or just have a poor attitude, but she’s always been improving and never given (signs of) any sort of frustration.”
Adding to the difficulty is that Allen is a midfielder.
“That’s mentally challenging,” West said, “because you have to not only have the speed to get down and get back, but you have to mentally be able to put your brain on offense and then switch your brain to defense. That’s also difficult for a beginner, and she does that fluidly.”
West said that Allen’s newness to the game is sometimes exposed, but she’s coachable and always working to get better.
‘Get it all done’
Speaking of always working, it’s not as if Allen had a lot of time to play another sport.
Along with her classes — she’s a Business Management major, from which she has accumulated a 3.68 GPA — Allen has been heavily involved at Thomas College, including, but not limited to, being on the Judicial Review Board and a member of the Student Philanthropy Team.
She also works. An internship with the State of Maine’s Bureau of General Services last summer turned into a job this year. And she works in housekeeping at MaineGeneral Medical Center when her two sports aren’t in-season. She’ll work on weekends, too.
“I have to make money during the school year,” Allen said. “So it’s just a priority for me, so I just make it work.”
Allen said a lot of people are shocked and awed when they hear about her schedule, including her coach and this journalist.
“People are always having the same reaction you guys are having, but it really all just balances out,” she said. “If you schedule it right, you can get it all done.”
Allen graduates next month, but she’s planning to return to Thomas next year to earn an MBA — through an accelerated program that will take a year to complete.
West said it’s possible Allen will be eligible to come back and play for the lacrosse team next year, and West hopes she does.
“She’s awesome. She’s really awesome,” West said. “Honestly, when I talk about the program, I say, ‘I just want to clone Lindsey Allen.’ I’m serious. Like, when I recruit, I’m like, ‘I just want some Lindsey Allens.’
“She’s that important. And I think she’s that important to the school, too.”
Spruce Mountain’s Lindsey Allen, right, battles Monmouth’s Chelse Arsenault for possession of the ball during a soccer game in September 2011.
Thomas College senior Lindsey Allen.