Soccer notebook: Top-ranked UNC women bolstered by freshman from Austin – Sports – Austin American-Statesman

Abby Allen wasn’t sure what to expect in July when she arrived in Chapel Hill, N.C. A fall season was no certainty, and she hadn’t played a competitive match since a March tournament with the U.S. under-19 national team in Spain.

Nine matches into her North Carolina career, the Austin product is already irreplaceable. Allen is part of a back line that has only conceded three goals in 2020. The No. 1-ranked Tar Heels are a perfect 9-0 heading to the ACC Tournament next week.

“I didn’t ever think that I would actually be starting and playing the whole game,” said Allen, who made her first start on Oct. 1 against Clemson and hasn’t looked back.

She took over the role vacated by senior Lotte Wubben-Moy, who opted to stay in her native country of England due to the uncertainty of the season and turned pro with Arsenal in September.

Allen, part of a freshman-sophomore center back pairing with Maycee Bell, hasn’t missed a minute since she cracked the lineup. Bell and Allen, along with Emily Fox and Julia Dorsey, have proven to be a near impenetrable force.

“I’m very, very pleased with the way this defense is playing. That back four and the goalkeeper, these are very elite players,” UNC coach Anson Dorrance said following a 2-0 win over Notre Dame on Sunday to close the fall regular season.

Allen, 18, is one of three elite soccer-playing sisters from Lake Travis High School. Her older sister, Carlee, has started every match in the midfield for Texas this season as a junior, and younger sister Mallory, a junior at Lake Travis, is committed to Colorado. The trio sharpened each other’s games this spring and summer during lockdown with guidance from parents Chad and Michele, who were both four-year starters in basketball for SMU.

Soccer, particularly the competition offered by Lonestar Soccer Club, was no small part of the Allens’ decision to move to Austin in 2012, and now the city can claim one of the nation’s rising stars. It’s clear Abby is right at home in the program that’s produced dozens of U.S. national team stars — from Mia Hamm to Tobin Heath — who all played under Dorrance.

“Coming in, it was a little bit intimidating,” said Allen, who’s been a regular pick for U.S. youth national teams since she was 13. “But getting to know everyone and playing with everyone, it’s a lot more chill than you would expect. We have no rules, but I think Anson is able to do that just because of the people that are here. Everybody wants to do their best, and that’s why the culture here is so great.”

Soccer train: Austin soccer fans were especially interested in one election result on Tuesday, and the result means there will be another transportation option at McKalla Place. Included in Proposition A, Austin’s multi-billion rail line mass transit plan, was a rail stop at the 20,500-seat MLS venue.

“Austin FC looks forward to being

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Sales of cars and clothing bolstered retail’s rise in September.

The 1.9 percent increase in retail sales in September was more than twice what most economists had predicted.

A few analysts said that the amount of the increase was proof that a broader economic recovery had taken hold, despite the high unemployment and business closures. Others say these gains may be fleeting.

It was the fifth straight month that retail sales had increased, and the spending patterns also show that even as virus cases grew across much of the country last month, people continued to venture out and spend more. Here are some highlights:

  • Strong auto sales were the largest factor in the spending increase. Low interest rates continued to encourage people to buy cars and trucks. Vehicle sales rose 3.6 percent from August, as more Americans who are forsaking air travel during the pandemic upgraded their cars or bought one for the first time. Gasoline sales also increased slightly, suggesting that more people were driving more as schools, offices and businesses reopened.

  • A roughly 11 percent increase in clothing and department stores sales was another driver of the overall spending rise. Some of that can be attributed to back-to-school spending, which typically happens early in the summer. Still, some economists were baffled by the strength in the department store business at a time when many Americans who are still employed are working remotely and have no need for new office attire.

  • Sales of health and beauty products, which seemed less necessary in the heart of the lockdowns this spring, increased 1.5 percent in September.

But some areas that were strong when pandemic-induced lockdowns forced Americans to remain in their homes showed signs of weakness.

Grocery sales surged at the start of the pandemic, causing panic among shoppers and record profits for food retailers. But things have normalized since then and sales at grocery stores were flat in September.

In a similar vein, electronic sales fell slightly, after recording big gains in the earlier months of the lockdowns when people were upgrading their home offices or buying new devices to entertain their stir-crazy children.

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