Ben Malakoff, Contributing Writer
Last season — her best at VCU — an ACL tear forced senior midfielder Alyssa Tallent to miss the rest of the season. Tallent had to watch her team fall in the Atlantic 10 championship match for the second year in a row. However, this time, there was nothing she could do about it.
“I had all these hopes of winning the tournament,” Tallent said. “Having to switch from that perspective to now having to be the biggest cheerleader on the sideline, that was really hard to deal with.”
Tallent was in her 12th game of her junior year when the injury took place. She was on pace for her best year statistically, scoring four goals and logging five assists before missing the rest of the season.
VCU finished the season 16-4, ending in a 5-1 loss to Saint Louis in the A-10 championship game. Tallent was eager to return to the pitch.
“It’s my last season, and so I knew that I just had to give it everything I have,” Tallent said,
“because I never know when my last game is going to be.”
On Aug. 22, Tallent started in the Rams’ first game of the season on the road against High Point.
“My emotions were everywhere,” Tallent said. “I wanted to cry, basically, it’s just so long, just like watching it from the sidelines. And finally being able to step back on the field — I was so happy.”
It did not take long for Tallent to pick up where she left off during her junior year. She scored in the second game of the season against Longwood on Aug. 25.
Now, in her final year, Tallent’s leadership abilities continue to develop.
During her junior and senior years Tallent has taken it upon herself to push through and become more of a leader. Going into her junior season, the team had not lived up to Tallent’s standards. She said everyone had to step up.
This season, the Rams dropped their first two A-10 matches to Duquesne and Saint Louis. Tallent said it’s all about getting the nerves out and not being complacent during games.
“It’s all internal stuff that we have to work on,” Tallent said. “But we’re slowly trying, and they know that we only have so many games left. And so hopefully it’s just a turnaround from here.”
Before graduating, Tallent wants to bring a championship ring and trophy back to Richmond. Two straight losses in the championship game and a season-ending injury last season are motivation to take the team even further, Tallent said.
“Winning the A-10 is nothing we can’t do,” Tallent said. “We are by far the best team in this conference.”