By John DeCoste '77
WOLFVILLE, N.S. - All good things must eventually come to an end, but as fifth-year student-athlete Allie Scovil looks back on her time at Acadia and in Wolfville, she sees nothing but positives.
Scovil, a native of Hubley, Nova Scotia, graduated in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in biology, but chose to return to Acadia this fall for a fifth and final season of AUS soccer eligibility – a season that saw Acadia make it to the AUS final and compete well at the U-Sports nationals.
She chose to take three fall semester courses, but acknowledges, "the real reason I came back was to play another season of soccer here. I figured I have my whole life ahead of me, and I'd never get this back if I hadn't done it. I have absolutely no regrets."
Scovil also has the distinction of being Acadia's female 2019 nominee for the U-Sports Top-8 Academic All-Canadians. "I'm very honoured to be in this position," she says. "There are a lot of people who deserve a lot of credit for helping make it happen, including – and especially – my teammates."
As she points out, "we have a ton of Academic All-Canadians (an Acadia-record total of 122 for the 2018-2019 academic year, including 11 from women's soccer) here at Acadia. That there are lots of people that could have been nominated for this makes it that much more special."
Scovil has tried to excel both academically and athletically at Acadia. An AUS all-star in 2018, she admits, "school has definitely been my number-one priority, both while I've been here and before I came, but I quickly learned, my first year here, that there's a lot more to university than just school."
Both academically and on the soccer field, she had "people like Katie Ross and Michelle Pryde (both U-Sports Top-8 Academic All-Canadians) to look up to" and serve as mentors. She had long-time teammates like Jenna Boudreau, Jackie Stevens and others to continually challenge her.
"There were four of us came back this fall to be able to take this last ride together," she says. "We started here together, lost in four AUS finals, made it to the bronze medal game at nationals. We rebuilt every year, and every year, we came back stronger.
"None of us would trade the experience we've had here for any championship. When we beat York (in the quarterfinals at nationals last month), we had texts from every other Acadia varsity team. Kevin Dickie called us. It's crazy the support the teams here have. That's what makes this place so special."
Scovil, a midfielder, has played soccer, up to and including provincial teams, since she was seven years old. "It's really the only sport I've done seriously. I did some figure skating and tennis, and I love to run, though I don't enjoy being chased. But in terms of a team sport, it's always been soccer."
As for the highlight of her soccer career at Acadia, Scovil replies, "it's really hard to pick just one. The whole soccer experience has been second to none. My teammates are the best people I've ever met, my best friends."
She acknowledged, "beating York at nationals was a highlight – a big school like that, and little old Acadia. Winning that game put us on the map." At nationals, "we ended up playing York, UBC and Toronto – all really big schools, and we gave every single one of them a game."
In addition to schoolwork and soccer, Scovil has fully embraced other aspects of the Acadia student-athlete experience. She took part in S.M.I.L.E., and Girls Night Out, as well as team activities such as Relay for Life. "It's always nice to do things with the rest of your teammates."
In addition, "as a varsity athlete, you get to do workshops and serve as a coach and mentor. There are so many opportunities here to be involved. You can get as involved as you want to. And playing a fall sport, there are lots of opportunities to do a lot of little extra things the rest of the school year."
Originally, Scovil planned to return to Acadia for the fall semester, and then she and Stevens, who have "done everything together" since they started at Acadia, planned to do some traveling.
Since then, though, she has been accepted into a Masters program at the Saint John campus of the University of New Brunswick, which she will begin in early January. Her research will be on the effects of climate change and oil spills on lobsters.
"It's a cool project," she says, "and I'm looking forward to it." She adds, "Acadia set me up for this. I wouldn't have known about research until the research I did in my fourth year."
It will be "a quick turnaround and a big transition, but Acadia has prepared me for it." In fact, one of the things Scovil appreciates most about Acadia "is how it shapes you. Particularly on sports teams, you're influenced by the people above you, and by the people who have gone before."
On the soccer team, "all the fifth-year players stepped up, pulled in the same direction. Everyone (on the team) has a role and has the same opportunity to be a leader." She acknowledged, "I'm ready to move on, but I'm not looking forward to leaving. If I had a sixth year, I'd probably play it."
She is looking forward to "staying involved in the game of soccer," and maybe "getting into coaching someday. I definitely want to stay involved if I can. Soccer has given me so much, and I'd like the opportunity to be able to give something back."