After growing up in program, Lola Abraham becomes Riverview’s all-time leading scorer
Saturday, October 1, 2022 | 11:01 AM
When Nikki Polens went down for a pushup, Lola Abraham was clinging to her back. When Polens did situps, Abraham would be sitting on her stomach.
Lola’s dad Sean Abraham coached Riverview’s junior high team and was an assistant for the Raiders varsity squad when Polens went through the program.
Polens, now an assistant coach for the varsity team, couldn’t help but think back to those times when Lola broke her scoring record during Riverview’s 12-4 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic on Sept. 26 on the road.
Lola, a junior, scored four times against the Centurions, giving her 53 goals for her career, which bested Polens’ mark of 49 goals.
“Honestly, it made me cry a little bit,” said Polens, who graduated from Riverview in 2016 and played collegiately at Point Park. “I got emotional watching her crush it. She was unfortunate to not have a freshman year. She almost broke the record last year. I pushed and pushed for her to break it last year.”
Lola, who started playing soccer at age 3, was always around her dad’s teams. She enjoyed being able to join practice after school.
“When I was super young, I would be around them when they were training,” Lola said. “I was able to come and jump in with them. All the older girls, even some that had graduated college at this point, were nice and friendly. They were always super friendly with me. I could go to training and jump in with them.”
Finding people to play soccer with didn’t require Lola to venture too far. Her older brother, Sean, joined the Riverhounds Academy in 2007 and Lola followed in his footsteps as part of their grassroots program.
Once Lola got involved from that age, she was hooked. She now volunteers with the grassroots program.
“Playing Riverhounds has been nothing but a tremendous help,” Lola said. “I would have never gone to another club. They helped tremendously technical-wise and with foot skills. That’s where I learned everything I could about soccer, and I can apply that knowledge anywhere.”
In large part due to the covid-19 pandemic, Lola didn’t get to play her freshman season. When a few families chose to keep their kids out of school, Riverview was left with only five or six players and couldn’t field a team.
During her sophomore season, Lola scored 43 times. That put her six short of the record.
Sean Abraham said it wasn’t something Lola talked much about entering this season. Lola said she didn’t know Polens had the record until after the season started.
“It’s not something she sat and fixated on,” Sean said. “She knew it was within reach. She worked hard. It’s tough because of the section we’re in. We have to play against Springdale, Seton LaSalle, Serra and Greensburg Central Catholic.”
A roster of 20 players, many of whom are inexperienced, has led to some growing pains for the Raiders. Riverview is off to a 2-4 start and is 1-4 thus far in section play.
Abraham said she enjoys the mix of players she gets to play with at Riverview.
“It’s a great experience,” Lol said. “I’m playing with my closest friends. The school is small, so you get to play with the girls you see every day during school. I get to build an even closer relationship with girls on this team, and I’m friends with girls on the team.”
Polens, who has been back at Riverview as an assistant for two seasons, was proud to see Lola pass her on the scoring list.
“I got to watch her grow from the little seed she was to the big sprout she is now,” Polens said.
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