Allison Forhan '12 has been a fan of lacrosse since she first picked up a stick. This happened on Western Reserve Academy's fields during the special Summer Programs week-long lacrosse clinic when she was 8 years old. Over the years, Forhan would continue to play and practice, but Reserve once again played a role in her lacrosse foundation when she returned to the fields years later, this time as an official Pioneer, to compete on the WRA girls lacrosse team.
"I've just always loved the sport," she shared. "I love the fast pace, the field sense you develop as a player. You learn to think two plays ahead, predict where the ball is going and know who to coordinate with to make a great play happen. And I just love the team camaraderie. I learned early on in my life that I'm more of a team player. Individual sports are great in their own way, but for me, personally, I work better with a team."
For Forhan, a great lacrosse player is one who does more than focus on their own development. They recognize and embrace that they are part of a team and they use their individual strengths to make their team a better unit.
"This is something I learned at Reserve, and it really applies to all team sports," she shared. "Jill Evans was my basketball coach, and she used to run this drill where one player would run down the court as fast as they could, and the other would throw the ball down the court. The point was, the ball is always going to travel faster than even the fastest sprinter on the team, so you'll get the ball to the other side of the court faster and more effectively if you work with your team."
Forhan returned to Western Reserve Academy this year as the Student Life Office Assistant and spent her fall on the coaching staff for the Girls Field Hockey team. With this experience under her belt, she has a better sense of her coaching style, which is a blend of approachable, optimistic and competitive.
"I'm a glass half full person," she said. "For me, I'm all about meeting players where they are so you can set the right kind of expectations based on their abilities. I think respecting yourself, your teammates and your coaches is important, as well as having a passion for the game. I was always a really driven athlete, so that drive is something I will definitely bring to practices and to games."
She looks to the coaches she's worked with as examples of how she'd like to lead this team. Coach Emily McKee, Marie Fiedler (MF), her college field hockey coach, Caitlin Dallmeyer (Williams), and WRA's current field hockey coach, Kathleen Wiler have all demonstrated the kind of coaching strength and knowledge she hopes to embody.
"I am very excited to have Allison take over the girls' lacrosse program," said Director of Athletics and Afternoon Programs Herb Haller '85. "Her energy, leadership and desire to set a high standard for our program will be great for our student-athletes in the years ahead. As a graduate of Reserve, she knows the school and the program well. I am quite confident that our players will flourish under her guidance."
In the months ahead, Forhan is looking forward to connecting with her team and helping them recapture a season lost last spring due to the pandemic. There's a lot to make up for, she says, and she's eager to get started.
"I've thought about this a lot," she shared. "I'm looking forward to having the girls get back together and to be leading the comeback after their lacrosse season was cut short last year. We're going to work harder, play harder, build the competitive drive, build the skills even more. And I have to say how excited I am to build a strong female sports program. To be a leader of the girls lacrosse team, to be able to influence change and work toward making this an even more competitive top tier program is something I'm really honored to be a part of."
Forhan might have only just begun her career at Western Reserve Academy, but she possesses those qualities that it seems all Pioneers do — a can-do attitude, excitement to start a new adventure and gratitude for new opportunities to grow. The Girls Lacrosse program is in great hands.
"I've been here for four months and I cannot believe the amount of really positive things that have happened in that time," she shared. "I'm excited about everything that I'm doing here, and know as the Head Coach of the Girls Lacrosse team, I get to be a part of something I'm really passionate about. It's just another reminder that the decision to return to Reserve was absolutely the right one."