Four years can go by in the blink of an eye. Just ask Shaena Alfonsi.
The former Pittsfield High School girls soccer standout is a senior at Division I American University and will be making her final regular-season visit to her home state on Saturday, when American plays at Holy Cross.
"It's kind of crazy, honestly," Alfonsi said, when reached by phone at the District of Columbia university. "You play all your life to get to this point and all of a sudden, it's over."
Alfonsi starts at midfield for the Eagles, who were 3-6 at the beginning of the week. More importantly to American's players and coaches, they are 1-0 in the Patriot League after beating Lehigh 1-0 on Sept. 21.
So far, she has not registered a point. In three previous seasons, Alfonsi has scored four career goals, including two last year. In three years, Alfonsi has played in 48 games and started 10. This year, she has started all nine of her team's games.
Alfonsi had always had dreams of playing Division I soccer, but American wasn't on her radar screen. The Washington school did not have a physical therapy major, which is what she wanted. But after visiting the campus and meeting the team, she became an Eagle and will graduate with a degree in Health Promotion. She is looking into physical therapy graduate programs.
Before that, she still has one soccer season to finish up.
The Eagles will leave Friday for Worcester and play at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
They prepare for their games in a most unusual fashion.
A large majority of college teams practice late in the day and into the early evening. Former Temple coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member John Chaney, was famous for holding his practices at 6 a.m. First-year American coach Anabel Jimenez Hering has the women on his team gather for practice at noon.
"It was harder going to class all day and then practicing," Alfonsi said.
Jimenez spent the previous five years as an assistant and played for American.
With her college soccer career in its waning weeks, the former PHS player looked back and said that getting to this point was not easy, but it was fulfilling.
"It was harder than I thought. Your life really revolves around soccer," she said. "I get to play the sport I love.
"The adjustment was hard. We're all best friends. That started from freshman year, my first day."
In nine games, the Eagles have scored only five goals. The most came in a 3-2 overtime loss at LaSalle on Sept. 6. Alfonsi and her teammates wouldn't mind having that run of futility end this weekend at Holy Cross.
"We're just having trouble scoring goals right now," she said. "Confidence is what matters. Hopefully, we'll have it all figured out."
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.