Mackenzie Allessie

Sport: Field hockey

Age: 18

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Mount Joy, Pa.

Major: Psychology

 

Question: I promise we’ll get to some questions that highlight your personality, but your field hockey accomplishments are too big to ignore: national high school record for goals in a season (124) and a career (351). How is that even possible?

Answer: It’s all because of the support of my family, coaches and teammates. They never doubted me even when I doubted myself. My family came to all my games to show their support, my teammates were always so positive and uplifting, and my coaches were always pushing me to be the best player I could be on the field.

Q: Of all your accomplishments, which are you most proud of?

A: I am most proud of our state championships we won at Donegal High School, especially the one in 2018. Winning any championship is a feeling you can never duplicate.

Q: What I don’t know about field hockey is a lot, but it seems like most games are won with a score of 2-1 or so, maybe 3-2 if it’s a free-for-all. Did your team have many low-scoring games?

A: Most of our high school games were actually not very close. I would say we averaged around four goals a game. However, most intense and competitive field hockey matches are within a goal of each other. Our state championship game score was 1-0, with the goal coming from a successful shot in overtime.

Q: Is there one area of the pitch where you score most of your goals — camped in front of the net, for instance, or on one of the flanks or on rebounds?

A: If I’m playing forward, I tend to score most of my goals off the baseline or around the stroke spot. If I am playing midfield, I tend to score more toward the top of the circle.

Q: Rank these in order of importance to be a scoring phenom in field hockey: anticipation, determination, speed, strength.

A: In order: 1. anticipation; 2. determination; 3. strength; 4. speed.

Q: Field hockey rules, as I understand them, dictate that a player cannot score a legal goal from outside 16 yards; isn’t that area terribly congested and thus difficult for scoring? How do you deal with that?

A: I wish you could score from anywhere; that would be awesome. Some teams have strategies to pack the circle to make it difficult to score, which is frustrating. At the same time, the more people in the circle means the more feet you are able to hit for a corner.

Q: Is there one goal that you’ve scored in your career that stands out as your favorite?

A: In my sophomore year in the state semifinals. I took the ball down with 30 seconds left and scored on a reverse flick (my favorite type of shot) to tie the game 3-3. Then, in the first minute of overtime, I scored on a corner with another reverse flick to send Donegal to the state final for the first time.

Q: Last October, you set the single-season goals record. In November, your team won a state championship. And in December, you made the U.S. national team as a 17-year-old. That’s quite the senior year; did any of that surprise you?

A: It all surprised me. It’s everyone’s dream to be on the national team, so that was a shock. I was also surprised I broke the records because in the beginning of the season I really didn’t believe it was possible.

Q: Were you awe-struck when you joined the national team, or did you acclimate quickly?

A: Of course, I was star-struck, but I acclimated as quickly as I could. I had to get used to the speed of play and fitness aspect, but the team was very welcoming and supportive.

Q: And how did it feel to represent your country at the Pan Am Games in Peru?

A: It was an honor. It’s such a different feeling putting on a Team USA jacket and knowing people will look to you to represent the United States. It makes you want to do even better because you represent everyone back at home.

Q: You scored six goals in the Pan Ams; how difficult was the level of competition?

A: It is much tougher to score because everyone is so talented and they all want the same thing you do.

Q: I read that you also played basketball and softball growing up. When did you realize that field hockey was the sport for you?

A: It was always field hockey. I started really loving it around fourth grade, and I remember telling my dad I wanted to be good at it. That started the hours of training each day and doing whatever I could to be better.

Q: When did you receive your first college scholarship offer?

A: I received my first college scholarship in the summer of seventh grade.

Q: How did you settle on Ohio State? What about the school did you find appealing?

A: I decided on Ohio State almost right after my visit. I was not going to pass up the chance to be coached by Jarred Martin. The team and the rest of the staff create an atmosphere where individuals can succeed and prosper. The school is the same way.

Q: What’s a brief description of your family?

A: My parents are Gina and Andy Allessie, and they both are gym teachers. I have a 10-year-old brother, Brady, who plays football and wrestles. I have two older sisters: Andrea is 33 and Mercedes is 28. I also have a dog named Levi, a boxer.

Q: Your OSU bio says you enjoy playing board games with your family; what is your favorite?

A: Bloody Knuckles, a card game. My brother, dad and I play it all the time.

Q: You wore No. 2 in high school, No. 23 for the national team and are wearing No. 6 for Ohio State; is there any significance to any of those numbers?

A: No. 2 was my sister and mom’s number in college and high school. No. 23 is my dad’s birthday. No. 6 is my birthday.

Q: Most athletes I know have a nickname; what do your teammates and friends do to Mackenzie?

A: My nickname is "Mack." It just comes out so much easier than Mackenzie, and it’s been my nickname since I was 7. It is strange when I am called Mackenzie now.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat in the whole world?

A: Peanut butter and jelly, specifically strawberry jelly and Justin’s honey peanut butter, on rye bread. I eat one before every game.

rstein@dispatch.com