Following the graduation of two key seniors at the end of last season, Haddonfield girls soccer coach Lori Quintavalle came into 2021 looking for junior Allison Tighe to take yet another big step forward for the Bulldawgs.
After notching six goals during her freshman year and nine the year after, Tighe showed extreme talent and promise early on. Coming from a soccer family, expectations were high that the junior would be a larger part of the team’s offense as she stepped into more of a leadership role.
“We definitely looked to her to be one of our bigger playmakers coming into the season, which she proved to be able to be her first two years, but the pressure wasn’t there due to the older girls on the team at the time,” Quintavalle said. “So as we were thinking about who would be our scorer and playmaker this year, we just knew that Allison had to be the one to step up, not just as a goal scorer, but an overall playmaker.”
Tighe left no doubt in the minds of her coaches this season, as she helped lead Haddonfield to yet another South Jersey Group 2 title with a 14-8-1 overall record. The team won the South West B Regional Championship last year during an interrupted COVID season after taking the South Jersey Group 2 title in 2019 too. The Bulldawgs were able to secure the three-peat this season.
Tighe led the team in both goals, with 18, and assists, with eight, proving her playmaking on the field. For that reason, Haddonfield’s Allison Tighe is South Jersey Sports Weekly’s 2021 Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“I came into the season with a pretty strong sense of confidence that I could, not carry the team by any stretch, but just be able to push the team forward through my game play,” Tighe said. “I just wanted to be a good influence on the girls around me; that was my goal going into the season.”
Last year, Tighe set a personal goal for herself to hit double digit goals in her sophomore season, a high bar. She fell one goal short of the mark last season, but used her drive to work even harder this year.
“I came into last season with the goal of hitting double digits after getting six my freshman year,” Tighe said. “I definitely wanted to contribute more than I had the year prior. Honestly, this year coming in, I wanted to get 20 goals, which I again fell short of, but I’m still super proud of what I was able to do this season individually and how we did as a team as well.”
Reflecting on the recent season, the junior said she owes plenty of her individual success to the work and dedication of teammates who also played instrumental roles in another successful season for the Haddonfield girls soccer team.
“We really do share a special connection on the field; I know when I get the ball to other girls on the team, that I can trust them and know where we both like to be positionally,” Tighe said. “And then I imagine they feel the same way about me.
“Being able to celebrate a goal with someone on the team is an indescribable feeling, and we had the chance to do that a lot this season,” Tighe added.