WPIAL Alum Q&A – Hannah Abraham
Monday, November 20, 2017 | 8:19 PM
While most college athletes previously achieved great success playing a sport for their high school, Hannah Abraham followed a unique path. Abraham, a terrific player for West Virginia University soccer and an Albert Gallatin graduate, is this week’s feature for the WPIAL Alum Q&A.
During her time at Albert Gallatin, Abraham did not participate on the Colonials’ soccer team. Instead, she ran for AG’s cross-country team in the fall, and played club soccer at an elite level. Some of the teams she competed on include the Region I Interregional Team, the Mountaineer United Soccer Club, the ODP Region 1 Pool and the U.S. Junior National Soccer Team.
Abraham graduated early from Albert Gallatin, in December 2014, and then enrolled at WVU for the following semester. She began her collegiate soccer career in 2015, playing in 21 matches for the Mountaineers. She netted four goals, as well as an assist, and her nine points ranked eighth on the team.
That year, WVU compiled a 19-3-1 mark, defeating three nationally-ranked teams. The Mountaineers qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and knocked off Duquesne, Northwestern and Loyola Marymount before ultimately bowing out to Penn State in the quarterfinals.
In 2016, Abraham played in 27 matches, and again tallied four goals, all of which were game winners. She also added two assists, and her 10 points ranked sixth on the squad.
WVU, meanwhile, enjoyed a season for the ages. The Mountaineers finished 23-2-2, winning the Big 12 Conference Championship. Abraham assisted on the overtime goal against TCU that clinched that title. From there, the No. 1-ranked Mountaineers entered the NCAA Tournament, and defeated Northern Kentucky, Ohio State, UCLA and Duke to reach the Final Four. West Virginia edged North Carolina to reach the title game, but fell to USC with the championship at stake. Despite the defeat, the Mountaineers set a program record for wins in a season.
As a junior this campaign, Abraham notched one goal and three assists in 23 contests.
Once again, the Mountaineers enjoyed a terrific season, compiling a record of 16-4-3. Of those wins, five came against teams ranked nationally, including a regular-season triumph against No. 1 Penn State. After qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, WVU bested Bucknell and Rutgers, but fell to Penn State yesterday to bring the season to an end.
Hannah dedicated time from her schedule to answer questions about the best moment of her college soccer career, why WVU was an easy choice, and her favorite Thanksgiving food.
Q: What has been your biggest area of improvement since you began your college career?
A: I think my biggest area of improvement since beginning my college career would be my speed of play. All of the players at this level are very athletic, making the speed of play a lot faster.
Q: How has your role changed now that you are a junior?
A: Now that I am a junior, my role has turned more into that of a leader. Because we have a lot of younger players on the team now, it became that much more important that I make sure to look out for them and help them in any way I can. It’s hard being a freshman, and I think that with my experience as a junior, I can provide them some knowledge and guidance.
Q: What has been your best moment in your WVU career so far?
A: My best moment at WVU thus far was definitely competing in the 2016 NCAA College Cup and playing for a national championship. Although losing the national championship was definitely one of the worst moments, it was amazing to experience the Final Four and just to fully take in the fact that our program is among the best.
Q: The Mountaineers have been a strong program in each of your three seasons. What have been the biggest keys to the team’s success?
A: I think the biggest key to our success in the seasons I have been here is our relentless work ethic, both in the off season and in season. Also, I think the culture here and the mindset that the teams before me had and have passed down has had an impact on our success. The players and the coaching staff have an expectation of excellence and success, and we work and work until we figure out how we can reach those expectations.
Q: What led to your decision to attend WVU?
A: I’ve always been surrounded by WVU women’s soccer my entire life, and my club coach from sixth grade on was a former assistant coach of the team (Nikki Goodenow). When it finally came time to start looking at colleges, my club coach actually made me visit at least one other school before I could commit to WVU, just to ensure I wasn’t deciding too soon. On my way home from my visit from Penn State, I called coach and committed. It was the only place I could imagine myself. Family and hard work are two core values of mine. and this program is created around those two things.
Q: What is your major and ideal future profession?
A: I am majoring in exercise physiology and I hope to be an occupational therapist in the future!
Q: You have been honored for your academic achievements. How have you been able to balance work in the classroom and your soccer responsibilities?
A: I am a very driven person and like to do my best in everything I do. If I’m not playing soccer or working out, then I am likely studying or doing homework. Balancing soccer and school can be very challenging, especially when it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I think the most important part is just having a drive and motivation to do well in both, and understanding sometimes school has to come before any social life.
Q: What has been your favorite college class thus far?
A: My favorite college class thus far has been my advanced exercise physiology class. I enjoy learning about the adaptations your body makes while you exercise, and just about the human body in general.
Q: What was your fondest memory at Albert Gallatin?
A: I don’t really have one single fondest memory at Albert Gallatin to talk about. I think the part of my time at AG I cherished most was the relationships I made, with both my classmates and my teachers. There are very great people in AG, and I am lucky to keep in touch with some of them still.
Q: You played in a tournament in Russia for your club team. What stood out about that experience?
A: The best part of my experience in Russia was learning about other cultures and getting to see a place so far from home. It was also interesting to see other countries’ styles of play and try to learn and grow from playing against them.
Q: What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
A: Sweet potatoes!!!
Q: Do you use social media much, and if so, which do you prefer?
A: I don’t use social media that much, but I would say I prefer Instagram the most. I like looking at pictures.