Redferrin excels on and off the pitch
When an athlete heads off to college to start a new journey with a sport they have been playing for the better part of a lifetime, the first year is usually all about adjusting to a new environment and following an exact schedule.
Unfortunately many athletes never make the adjustment and never come back after the inaugural campaign but for those who do, the sophomore season is usually the one which they reap the rewards for taking a year to learn the system while little playing time.
That was exactly the case for former Marshall County soccer star Abbey Redferrin who played in just four games as a freshman for Freed Hardeman, but came back as a sophomore to play in all 18 games with the majority being starts.
"My experience changed in many ways," Redferrin said. "I came into this preseason so much more prepared of what was ahead of me. I knew what my challenges would be, how to face them, and how to conquer them. I took the responsibility of stepping up when my team needed me very seriously and I will always handle my role on this team extremely seriously."
The overall success of the Lions from 2016 to 2017 was night and day as Freed finished 10-8 overall and 8-4 in the conference before losing a close 2-1 match to Lindenwood in the American Midwest Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Compared to a 4-10-3 overall record and a 4-6-2 record with a first round conference tournament loss in 2016, Redferrin's sophomore campaign has provided many memorable moments.
"Some of my more memorable moments this year were mainly ones we accomplished as a team," Redferrin recalled. "The most memorable moment happened to be one off the field. My teammates and I were watching a competitorís game online and I happened to think about checking our rankings in the conference."
"I pulled up the conference website and there I saw our name at the number two spot," Redferrin continued. "I told my teammates and the joy we all had made my day. We have never made it this high in the conference standing since our team has been around. This was a proud moment for all of us."
As an individual, Redferrin's numbers doubled as a sophomore with two goals from the midfielder position to go along with six points, two assists, 11 shots, and four shots on goals.
One of Redferrin's best games came against Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas when the Lewisburg native broke a tie to give the Lions the lead to secure the win.
"I can recall that game well," Redferrin, who added three shots on goal and two points, said. "I remember us not playing to the best of our ability and we gathered as a team saying that we all need to step up and focus, as we had not been doing well on finishing that match."
We specifically stated we must pick a corner and focus whenever we are up for a shot," Redferrin continued. "I received the ball in the box and remember what we had previously spoken about and picked bottom left corner and shot. We then were leading 2-1."
That win gave the Lions a school-record eighth straight victory in which Freed had beat its opponents by a score of 36-3.
The Lions then went on to lose the last four games of the season by a combined 8-2 score but ended the year tied for a school record in overall wins (10 in 2010) and setting a school record in conference wins with eight.
Such a turnaround is nothing new to Redferrin, who was part of a Marshall County squad that won just nine combined games during her freshman through junior years before teaming up with her father and coach, Mark Redferrin, to win a school record 13 games along with a school record 10 game winning streak to start the 2015 season.
Playing for her father for four years was a big part in becoming successful enough to transition to the college game and the younger Redferrin still talks with both dad and mother April after almost every game.
"Having a dad for a coach was something," Redferrin said. "Many believe that I got cut slack by my dad being my coach but it was quite the contrary. My dad was my hardest critic, besides myself of course."
"He was the one who pushed me harder when I felt like I couldnít do anymore and I truly believe he is the reason I was able to take my game to a higher level," Redferrin continued. "He was always willing to help me improve in areas I needed it the most and still is active in helping me to this day. I greatly appreciate what heís done to help my game."
Along with a jump in success on the field in her sophomore campaign, Redferrin has also adjusted just fine to the rigors of college academics, being named academic All-Conference for having a GPA over 3.0
"I have decided on nursing 100 percent," Redferrin stated. "I have had this career path picked out since I was young. I had a heart condition called super-ventricular Tachycardia. Whenever I was in a medical environment, the nurses were the ones to ease my young, paranoid mind. Ever since, I have told myself Iím going to be just like them."
"This, however, was also a challenge to handle during soccer season," Redferrin acknowledged. "With classes Anatomy and Physiology, which take up a majority of your time along with nine hour bus rides that also compete for your time, learning to manage your time isnít an option. I have maintained a 4.0 for this semester thus far and hope to keep it up."
Like the dozen other former Tiger athletes playing college sports at the present time, Abbey is extremely proud to call herself a Marshall County alum and Lewisburg native.
"(Being from Marshall County) means the world to me," Redferrin emphasized. "I know people seem to believe that if youíre in a small town, itís hard to get out and do something different, but I believe going to school and being a college athlete says otherwise. Also I love to be able to represent my Alma mater any time someone asks where Iím from or sees my athletic profile."
And Lewisburg is proud to be called the home of Abbey Redferrin.