Senior spotlight: Hagerty reflects on career highlights amidst canceled fall season

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Media: Courtesy of Alana Hagerty

Alana Hagerty (left) started a total of 23 matches during her three seasons as a Lion.

Now that women’s soccer senior defender Alana Hagerty will not have the opportunity to suit up for a final season as a Lion, she has spent time reminiscing about her career highlights, including her first goal.

In a matchup against Wesleyan College at Rotch Field on Sept. 8, 2018, the Lions found themselves tied 0-0 nearing the end of the first half. Hagerty, who hadn’t yet tallied a goal in her Emerson career, attempted a shot on goal, resulting in the only score of the match, giving the Lions their first victory against Wesleyan in program history. 

“It was like this crazy goal from really far outside,” junior forward Grace Cosgrove said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “It was basically a corner kick. It was such a random goal in such an intense game.”

Hagerty, whose teammates described as a consistent player and strong defender, said the goal wasn’t as important as the team’s collective effort to secure the win.

“I scored the goal that won the game,” Hagerty said. “But at the end of the day, our defense that game was super strong, and we defended really well the rest of the game and kept the shutout. To me, that was more important than that one goal. It was definitely the highlight of my career.”

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After starting in 21 games in her last two seasons, and with the team finishing 10-6-3 last season, both Hagerty and the women’s soccer program were in line for a strong 2020. But with the NEWMAC announcing the cancellation of fall sports, Hagerty will not have the chance to make another playoff run.

Hagerty began playing soccer when she was four years old and stuck with the sport throughout high school. She was a three-sport athlete at Northern High School in her hometown of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, where she participated in her school’s swim, track, and soccer teams. 

In addition to her high school teams, she played for HMMS Eagle FC, a local club soccer team. Hagerty said her interest in soccer led her to pursue it in a more competitive environment.

“Soccer has always been what I’ve been most passionate about and what I enjoyed the most out of all the sports I played,” Hagerty said. 

Hagerty said most of her club teammates went on to play at Division I or II schools, leaving her as the sole Division III collegiate athlete from her class. Hagerty, a journalism major, said she decided to focus on her education, rather than landing a spot on a Division I team.

“I love the sport, but at the end of the day, you have a degree, and I’m not going to go professional,” Hagerty said. “I don’t think I could. And even if you do, women’s professional soccer does not offer a very high salary. I just felt like in the scheme of things, an education is more important.”

In her first season as a Lion, Hagerty played in nine games, making the starting roster in just two matchups. Hagerty said not having a larger role on the team was a hard adjustment because she started most games while in high school.

“During my freshman year, when I wasn’t starting, when you’re used to starting in club and high school, it’s definitely easy to not be that player anymore,” Hagerty said. “It can definitely take a toll on your mental state, because soccer is very mental.”

Hagerty said she also grew a bit discouraged by the team’s 3-11-2 record in the 2017 season but focused on the team’s potential and found optimism for the following seasons. 

“My freshman year, our team didn’t really have that great of a season, so it definitely was hard because I was used to winning all the time,” Hagerty said. “I knew there was a lot of potential in the coming years, which was why I stuck with it. That turned out to be true, and we got way better my sophomore and junior year.”

In her sophomore and junior seasons, Hagerty started in all but two games and helped the team pitch 11 shutouts. 

Cosgrove said Hagerty’s dedication to the sport led to her significant defensive impact on the team.

“Her hard work earned her the starting spot, just because of how good and solid she was in the back line,” Cosgrove said. “She definitely proved herself, she proved that she was the perfect person to hold off any attacks. She’s very consistent. And you know that even if she does get beat, she’ll work ten times as hard to try and win it back.”

When junior midfield Jenna Kase joined the team in Hagerty’s sophomore season, she said her consistency helped relieve some of the pressure she faced in the first few games. 

“She’s very composed on the field,” Kase said in a phone interview with The Beacon. “She has this sort of infectious calming attitude about her on the field. I have this memory, I was a freshman, she was a sophomore. It was one of my first collegiate games, and I was so nervous, I was telling myself, ‘Don’t mess up, don’t mess up.’ Then I looked behind me and thought, ‘At least if I slip up, [Hagerty] is behind me, and I’ll be good.’”

Even though Hagerty is not a team captain, Kase said she leads by example and creates a welcoming atmosphere for new players each season. 

“She’s really friendly and social, especially towards all the incoming players,” Kase said. “Coming in as a freshman, she was one of the many players who helped me find another home and another family. I can see her doing that for the incoming freshman each year, and that’s something I’ve tried to do because I saw someone I looked up to doing that as well.”

As Hagerty ends her soccer career with team practices and workouts, she said she’s grateful for the tight bonds she created with her teammates over the last three seasons.  

“It definitely creates really strong friendships, not only within my own class but with all the other girls on the team,” Hagerty said. “I wouldn’t have met most of these people if it weren’t for soccer and this team.”