Deer Lakes soccer standout ready to kick off college career at St. Francis

Deer Lakes soccer standout ready to kick off college career at St. Francis

The countdown has reached zeroes for Deer Lakes graduate Abigail Boulos as she embarks on a Division I soccer tenure at St. Francis (Pa.).

As she reported to campus Monday for the start of preseason camp Tuesday, Boulos’ anxiousness and anticipation reached high levels.

Boulos said she always prepared to play soccer in college, and she is honored to play at the Division-I level.

“I am very excited to be a part of this team,” said Boulos, a versatile player who was a four-time Valley News Dispatch all-star.

“Everyone has been so welcoming, especially coach (Ellie) Davis, helping me with everything I need to know and being so positive about the program.”

Boulos will get up to speed quickly for the 2021 season, which opens at home Aug. 12 with an exhibition matchup against Bucknell.

The Red Flash have another exhibition game against Kent State on Aug, 14 before traveling to Clemson on Aug. 19.

Boulos’ final weekend at home wasn’t all rest and relaxation. She found time to do some challenging training in preparation for the start of preseason camp.

“I want to be as prepared and fit as possible to start practices,” she said.

Boulos said St. Francis was the total package. She has been accepted into the accelerated physician’s assistant program in addition to receiving the offer to join the women’s soccer team.

“I just love the campus, too,” she said. “It was a win-win-win for me. When I went up for freshman orientation, I felt right at home. I knew I made the right choice.”

St. Francis was one of the countless college athletic teams to have its season canceled through the 2020-21 academic year because of ongoing covid concerns.

A potential spring season was canceled by the university in January with the plan to be fully prepared to go this fall.

The Red Flash have only three seniors. A majority of incoming freshmen such as Boulos and a group of sophomores are getting their opportunity for the first time this fall.

Boulos said she is encouraged she will have the chance to contribute right away.

“I just want to go in there and do my best each day and see where the cards fall,” she said.

Other WPIAL products on the St. Francis roster are freshman goalkeeper Emma Sawich (Peters Township), sophomore goalkeeper Julianna Marshall (Serra Catholic) and sophomore midfielder Colletta Ozbey (Chartiers Valley).

Boulos said that she likes the up-tempo, pressure aspect of the style of play under Davis.

“I am very big on just go, go, go, go, go all the time,” she said. “That just excites me a lot.”

The 2019 Red Flash women’s soccer team finished 7-9-1 overall and 6-4 (fifth place) in the Northeast Conference.

Boulos said she didn’t let up all summer, working out almost every day with a training packet presented to her by the St. Francis coaches. She said she also saw benefits from extra sessions at the Legends of Pittsburgh training facility at Pittsburgh Mills.

She also expressed her gratitude to Deer Lakes coach Frank Accetta for allowing her the opportunity to scrimmage with the current crop of Lancers junior high, junior varsity and varsity players.

“When you have a player like that who works as hard as she does and is a great role model, it was great for everyone to have her there,” Accetta said. “For her to be playing at St. Francis speaks volumes to her training, dedication, talent and also her work in the classroom. She is a great influence on the younger kids who see what you can accomplish if you work hard.”

Boulos was a difference-maker for Deer Lakes from the beginning of her freshman year. She had 12 goals and 18 assists in the fall of 2018 to help her team win 17 games, capture the Section 2-2A title with an 11-0-1 mark and advance to the WPIAL semifinals.

She earned all-star accolades all four years of her high school career. Last fall, she scored six goals and added six assists from a defender spot as the Lancers navigated the covid landscape to finish 10-7 overall, 5-5 in a challenging Section 2-2A and qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.

Boulos, for her efforts, capped her varsity career with All-WPIAL recognition.

“It was good to be able to play one last season with the girls,” Boulos said. “We all grew up playing together. I think we played pretty well. We were just so grateful that we were able to play games with so many things uncertain coming into the season. We valued every moment on the field together.”

While Boulos has a lot on her plate this fall in the classroom and on the field, she said she will closely watch the current group of Deer Lakes players, including sister Madeline, an All-WPIAL forward, as they move through the 2021 season.

“I am super excited to see what they can do,” Abigail Boulos said. “They have a nice mix of experienced girls and some freshman who will come in and make a difference.”

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