Alana Jefferson shining as Queens heads into NCAA tournament

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — It’s natural that Alana Jefferson, one of six seniors on the Queens University women’s soccer team, is helping to lead the team to one of its best seasons in a decade. The former Washington standout was key to the Lady Pack reaching the state championship four years ago.

Now, the Royals are 11-2-3 heading into Friday’s NCAA DII southeast-regional game against UNC-Pembroke. Jefferson leads the team with 10 of its 36 goals and 33 shots on net. She also has three assists, which is good for second on the team.

“It’s funny how it’s worked out. My senior year in high school, we ended up going to the state championship,” Jefferson said. “Now, my senior year in college, we’re finally making it to the national tournament. … I had some great coaches in Washington that helped get me where I am today.”

She credited Washington coaches Jim Kozuch and Ed Rodriguez. She said Wesley Beddard, Tim Guter and Darron Dawson were all valuable coaches, too.

For Jefferson, her success boils down to confidence. Head coach Denise Brolly took charge of the program when Jefferson was a junior. It required adjusting, but Brolly has helped instill that confidence in Jefferson.

“She expects a lot out of us and she expects a lot out of the team. That’s why we are where we are right now,” Jefferson said. “She really pushed me to be more competitive. She’s put a lot of confidence in me and my ability to score goals. I think that’s the major difference you can see.”

Jefferson has been a regular starter since her freshman season. She only scored five goals in her first two years, though. Since Brolly has been coaching her, Jefferson has found twine 18 times between her junior and senior campaigns.

“She was one of the most influential players that we had,” Brolly said, remembering her first impressions of Jefferson. “She’s always a key player. She plays in big moments. In big games, we can always count on her.”

Other than Jefferson’s knack for finding the back of the net, Brolly highlighted her quiet leadership as something that’s been invaluable to the season the Royals have put together.

Queens fell to Anderson University in a penalty-kick shootout in the South Athlantic Conference tournament back on Halloween. Jefferson and the Royals, confident as they have been all season, now look forward to their first-round game against UNC-Pembroke. Queens earned a No. 5 seed. UNC-Pembroke was seeded fourth in their section of the bracket.

“We’ve seen them before. It’s an opponent that we competed well against,” Jefferson said. “It will be interesting to see the difference from playing them in the preseason and playing them now. I think they’re a beatable opponent, and I’m really excited for it.”

Brolly added, “This is the first time in 10 years that we’ve gotten to this point in the season, to the regional tournament. I’m just really happy that she’s a part of it. She’s a senior. She’s helped the program get to this point.”

Jefferson said that no matter how the coming days and weeks unfold, she takes pride in the foundation she’s laid for the program. Just like wrapped up her Washington career, though, she knows it will be bittersweet.

Friday’s game is slated to begin at 2 p.m. from Jefferson City, Tennessee. Those interested can find viewing options online at