Sept. 29, 2011
Alaina Beyar was the New York Gatorade Player of the Year as a shifty forward for South Side School in Long Island, N.Y. Four years later, the senior communications major and environmental studies minor sat down with BC Athletics to reflect on her switch to defense, last year’s run to the College Cup and her plans for the future.
Q: Four years ago you were an all-state forward, but now you hold down the back line for BC. How did that happen?
A: When I came in freshman year as a forward, there were a lot of really good forwards and spots were very competitive. We didn’t have an outside back for the following year, so [head coach Alison Foley] thought I could fill that role. I was really open-minded; I was willing to do anything and play any position the team needed me to. I really had to learn the ways of defense, but I paid attention and had some really great role models like Kelly Henderson and Alicia Pember to learn from and they really encouraged me. I tried to pick it quickly and I love it now; I don’t think I would go back (to forward) if they gave me the choice.
Q: With the other three defenders being so young, how has your back line held up so well?
A: In practice, we have focused a lot on defense. You can’t just throw a couple players together and expect instant chemistry. It is something you need to work on. One of our main focuses has been playing well as a unit and we are getting better at it every single game.
Q: In your eyes, how has the team progressed this season?
A: In the beginning we struggled a little bit, just because the team is so young, as we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores. We didn’t know the freshmen that well, but with time passing, I think we have gotten a chance to know them and the team chemistry has definitely improved both on and off the field. We are more like friends and family now, rather than strangers.
Q: How have you dealt with being a leader by example this year?
A: Leadership is something that definitely came over the years. When I was a freshman, I remember looking up to the seniors wide eyed. I was so impressed with their leadership and their ability to push the team to be the best we could possibly be. Now that I am older, I see the younger girls looking up us, the seniors. I am embracing that responsibility and hoping that I can be a good leader like those who I've looked up to in the past.
Q: What do you do in the summer to prepare for the season? Was there anything different about this last summer?
A: Every year I try and focus on the same thing, which is playing as much as I can. This summer was a little different because I stayed in Boston. Usually I go home and train with a team there, but this summer there were seven of us who stayed and trained together. I think it really motivated and benefited us a lot to be together. We ran a couple days a week, played 4 v. 4, and it was awesome to have our goalie, Jill Mastroianni, around because that added a whole other level of practice.
Q: How do you think the team has played so far this year and what do you have to do to get back to the Final Four of the College Cup?
A: I think we have been playing really well so far this year. We have already beat three teams that we lost to last year so redeeming ourselves was huge. We just need to keep on the path we are on. Our team chemistry is clicking more and more everyday and the coaching staff has been helpful guiding us through any problems we have had.
Q: Do you have any plans for next year and beyond?
A: I am really open minded about next year. My first priority is having a good season and making it back to the Final Four. I want to have a good senior year in general; I don’t want to leave and I am trying to slow time down as much as possible. In terms of next year, I am not really sure. I might like to try to play professionally, maybe continue school and get my masters, or possibly get a job. I don’t really know right now, to be honest.
Q: What has been your favorite moment as a BC soccer player?
A: Getting to the Final Four. It was an amazing experience and it is something you dream about as a kid, watching it on TV, saying to yourself, ‘Wow, I want to be there someday.’ To accomplish that was a great feeling and I loved sharing it with my teammates. That is the highest level of competition with the biggest crowd and seeing younger girls watching and looking up to you, it was special. I want to make it back there.
Interview by AJ Ferrera