Out of spotlight, Allen leads polished Loch Raven defense

April 14, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

When a Towson player threw a long cross-field pass toward an open teammate in front of the Loch Raven goal, Raiders defender Kim Allen stood at least 15 yards away from the intended receiver.

Allen took off the moment she saw the ball thrown. As the ball flew through the air, the junior closed in on the Towson player.

Finally, Allen leaped moments before the ball reached the Towson player. With her stick extended high, she deflected the ball away.

That play did not show up in the Loch Raven score book. It never will. There is no official statistic for something like that. But that play is an example of the kind of things Kim Allen does for No. 5 Loch Raven.

Loch Raven coach Wendy Galinn simply smiled when asked about the play. She's seen something like it many times.

"She's great at anticipation," said Galinn. "Kim's a great athlete and along with that comes a very intelligent girl. She's a very bright kid, and that shows on the field."

The theory of defense, however, sometimes seems to mystify Allen. She began her lacrosse career in the fifth grade and often played attack wing. Offense is basic, its rewards tangible. Put the ball in the net and your team gets a point.

But defense is another story. Allen was moved to defense at the start of her career at Loch Raven. Instead of scoring goals, Allen concerns herself with the little things defense demands -- and statistics don't show.

"I think in any sport, the defense doesn't always get the recognition it probably should because it's not tangible, it's hard to tell what's [something good]," said Allen. "The equal of goals on defense is having good body position or a good double team or something like that."

Galinn brought Allen up from the junior varsity for the playoffs two years ago as a freshman, and she wound up starting in the Raiders' state final loss to Mount Hebron.

Allen has stayed with the varsity ever since. The junior was a first-team All-County pick last year at defense wing. She moved to third man on defense this season and started off well again.

Galinn said Allen often forces the offensive player to make an adjustment. For example, if a player likes to move right, Allen forces her left and away from her best shot.

"She makes them do what they don't want to do," said Galinn. "It takes practice to do that and do that consistently."

Playing defense at Loch Raven can be a bit boring because of how rarely the Raiders' opponents get the ball. Loch Raven spends much of its season rolling over opponents.

But when the Raiders play defense, Allen steps up. Galinn said she's quick, has great endurance and good stickwork, and is always on the ball.

Mary Edwards, who scored four goals in last week's 18-2 victory over Towson, said the team knows of Allen's importance. Having Allen behind them, gives her teammates a bit of extra confidence.

"She's definitely the unsung hero," said Edwards. "We know there're going to be less goals scored with her back there."

Allen and her teammates have suffered through two tough state title-game losses to Mount Hebron in the past two seasons. Those were Loch Raven's only defeats in the past seven years.

But Allen knows what big victories are like. She started on Loch Raven's Class 1A-2A state championship soccer team and would love to walk away with a second state title in one year.

And to do that, Allen knows that defense can be vital -- especially in the postseason.

"I think we know that excitement of being a state champion," said Allen. "I'm sure we'd like to experience that again."

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