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    New Faces in Santoro's Pack
    Alexa Allen
    Alexa Allen

    April 8, 2014

    By Jonathan Stout
    NC State Athletics Communications

    The NC State women’s soccer team, coming off an improved 2013 season under new head coach Tim Santoro, added two experienced players to its roster in Alexa Allen and Jenna Kalwa last December.

    Due to NCAA transfer rules, both student athletes will be eligible to play for the Wolfpack during the 2014 season, and each one is enjoying a solid spring season with State.

    Allen, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Auburn University, tallied three goals, tied for fourth on the team, and 43 shots in 2012 for the Tigers. She then redshirted during the 2013 season.

    “As a soccer player I know I just want to grow and develop,” Allen said. “I knew that coming here with Tim’s experience, and playing in the ACC would definitely help me get to that point in my soccer career.

    “I wanted to join the best soccer conference in America.”

    In December, she was selected by the Jamaican Football Federation to play with the Under 20 Jamaican National Team in the CONCACAF U20 Tournament.

    “Playing different countries and playing against your country—the United States—was a great experience,” Allen said. “It shows you how much higher the level is outside of college.”

    Kalwa, a junior transfer from Penn State, played 12 games in two seasons for the Nittany Lions. She recorded two goals and two assists during her time in State College, Pa.

    “I’m an in-state student here, and it just worked out with NC State,” Kelwa said. “When I visited I really liked the campus. I have a knack to go towards more schools like NC State. It’s smaller than Penn State, but I’m totally fine with that.”



    Kalwa’s family lives in nearby Wilmington and her twin and older brother attend UNCW.

    Although both Kalwa and Allen come from different backgrounds and experiences, they both possess the same asset that is crucial for the rebuilding of a program: experience.

    “I’ve been to an NCAA tournament—first and second round—and I’ve been to the SEC finals,” Allen said. “Just bringing leadership and knowing what it takes to get to that point, I think that’s what I bring here.”

    “We went to the College Cup Finals during my time at Penn State,” Kalwa said. “We won the Big Ten Championship for the 15th time in a row my freshman year.

    “My sophomore year was a completely different season, so I’ve seen the aspects of both being part of a winning team and being on the side when things don’t go your way.”

    The returning members of last year’s squad may look to the newcomers for help on the pitch but Allen and Kalwa have looked to their new teammates for help adjusting to Raleigh.

    “It was a lot harder coming in the middle of the school year,” Kalwa said. “It was really hard for me to leave my friends and everyone that I cared for up north to come down here where I didn’t know anybody.”

    Acceptance, she found, was simpler than expected.

    “The girls are so friendly and accepting. It was easy to fit right in.”

    Allen and Kalwa said they have enjoyed the process of acclimating to Raleigh and NC State, both coming from different living situations—Allen from a rural area in Auburn, Ala., and Kalwa from State College, Pa.

    Kalwa said she’s found solace in Lake Johnson, and the relaxed pace of Raleigh.

    “That place is great. It’s two minutes from my house,” she said. “Over spring break I would just walk around the lake. I’m a big fan.”

    Allen, on the other hand, said she’s ecstatic about living in a city with more options than a small town.

    “Auburn isn’t really a big town, so Raleigh is completely the opposite,” she said. “I really just like being able to go to a mall and shop if I want to, or just do things which a city can offer compared to a rural area.”

    The additions of Allen and Kalwa to the team will no doubt provide a boost to a program which saw a 45 percent RPI improvement (85 places) from the end of the 2012 season to the end of the 2013 season. The two transfers will join a strong incoming freshman class announced by the program on Feb. 11.

    Allen, Kalwa, and the Wolfpack will open the 2014 season Aug. 13 with a home exhibition contest against Appalachian State. For the full schedule, click here.


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