All-FCIAC Lake hopes to thrive on Trinity's pitch
Abbey Lake is on her way to Trinity College after making her mark for the Staples girls soccer team.
The senior captain Lake, who hopes to play for Trinity College next year, was a First Team All-FCIAC selection at forward after being a four-year varsity player at Staples.
"I've worked hard and it's nice to be known as one of the top players in the FCIAC," Lake said.
Lake was the Lady Wreckers' top scorer this year with 18 goals and 12 assists. She finished her career with 36 goals and 46 assists.
Staples' opponents knew how dangerous she is and marked her tightly. Sometimes, Lake was double-teamed and triple-teamed. Her ability to get past the tight marking enhanced her effectiveness.
"Especially in a lot of games when I was man-marked or double man-marked, made it hard, but it was good to know because it's a sign they respected you," Lake said. "My teammates, like [junior] Turner Block, helped me [in those situations]. If I asked a teammate to go up, the defender slid over to her and I get open. I also sometimes go back to the midfield and it's easier to take it 1-on-1 from there."
Once Lake got open, she found the net with ease. She scored many goals from point-blank range and off of long, booming shots.
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"At the beginning of the year, I started off not being able to finish and realized it held me back from a lot of breakaways," Lake said. "I practiced shooting away from the goal and to the corners of the net, which helped a lot."
She also worked with Majic Premier soccer coach Michael Johnson on her shot.
"He taught me how to score," Lake said.
Johnson, in turn, is impressed with Lake.
"Abbey is a coach's dream," he said. "She has a love for the game which she parlayed into her success. She did a lot of 1-on-1 work with me to get better and she now understands the art of finishing."
Shooting isn't Lake's only strength on offense. She's equally deft as a passer and her precise crosses to her teammates led to many goals.
"When I beat a lot of people to the outside, I try to play it to the one in the penalty area, and I know Turner makes her runs there," Lake said. "It comes from experience. I played midfield and center midfield, which requires more passing. I also keep my head up, and I'm able to see the field and dribble a lot."
Possessing speed gives Lake an edge as well. She used her quickness many times, which left many opponents in the dust and created numerous scoring opportunities for the Lady Wreckers.
"I was kind of born with speed," Lake said. "I also observe the defense and if I get them on their heels and aren't ready to sprint, I sprint hard and it's hard for them to recover. Speed runs in my family. My brother [Court, who graduated Staples in June] has speed."
During the offseason, Lake plays for the South Central Premier team. She plays midfield for South Central and in that position; she contributes for the squad on defense as well as offense.
"Speed definitely helps me because I can stay with the people and have good field sense because I know where the play goes," Lake said. "Being an offensive player helps because I'm able to put myself in my opponents shoes and know what they are going to do."
Johnson said, "Except for two girls from Glastonbury, there's no one in the state who can run with her. Whenever you have speed, it opens up a lot of things and creates a lot of opportunities. She has a keen sense of knowing when to change pace, which enables her to lull the defender before accelerating."
Junior year, she was All-FCIAC Honorable Mention. Not many players make varsity as freshman but Lake is an exception to the rule and contributed to the Lady Wreckers during her first year.
"It was definitely exciting but also scary," Lake recalled. "I was 13 when I made varsity and played against 18 year-olds. It helped me grow as a player and made me stronger by playing against bigger and stronger players."
Life on the pitch began for Lake at age 3. She began playing because Court played and also followed his footsteps by playing boys lacrosse at age 10.
Growing up, Lake also tried gymnastics but gave it up to focus on soccer.
"I like being outside and soccer is more a team sport," Lake said.
Leadership is another strength of Lake's as she served Staples as captain. She mostly led by example, such as when she impressed assistant coach Ciara McCormack by executing a tackle against Ridgefield, but also talked and advocated for her teammates as well.
"It was a good experience and great to work with the other captains," Lake said. "I played with them since I started playing soccer and good to know we had a good season during my captaincy."
Academically, she's a good student. Lake especially likes social studies, English and child studies. She's worked the last two years at the preschool at Staples and works as a volunteer with kids at the George Washington Carver Community Center in South Norwalk.
"Time management," Lake said. "I try not to overbook my schedule and not make too many commitments. School comes first, soccer and volunteer work comes next and the social aspect is last."
At Trinity, Lake is undecided about her major and will explore various options. One thing she's sure about is her desire to play for Trinity and is working hard towards getting to the next level.
"All the work I put in now will help," Lake said. "Being committed to soccer and playing premier soccer will help. My time management will help and these skills will cross over to soccer."
Johnson believes Lake could play at even a higher level than Trinity.
"I believe she'll be the Rookie of the Year," Johnson said. "Abbey can play Division I soccer and will be a dominant player in the league."