Senior Alex Abedian proves to be flexible and focused

Alex Abedian is one of the key contributors to the men's soccer team that made it to the NCAA tournament. (credit: José Lopez/) Alex Abedian is one of the key contributors to the men's soccer team that made it to the NCAA tournament. (credit: José Lopez/)

Senior soccer player Alex Abedian has been one of the most flexible and focused contributors to the Carnegie Mellon men’s soccer team.

The team currently sits at a 13–4 record at the top of the University Athletic Association (UAA) conference. The players’ stellar performance this season earned them a bid in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

For Abedian, these results exceed any expectations he had. “I honestly had no idea what to expect coming into the season. After a bit of a rough year last year, I kept my hopes modest,” Abedian said. “But from the start of preseason, I could tell that there was a change of heart, and I knew it was going to be a great year.”

This change of heart proved to be worthwhile, as the team recently had five of its players honored by the University Athletic Association conference.

Head coach Arron Lujan and assistant coach Mike Piranian were named University Athletic Association Coaching Staff of the Year for leading the team to a No. 6 national ranking, a first-place finish in the UAA, and a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

“I think our biggest accomplishment was receiving the NCAA bid,” Abedian said. “It just showed that everything we worked for finally paid off.”
On Saturday, the Tartans faced off against Morrisville State College and won 3–0 in a shutout.

Abedian was a key player in the game: When Chernor Barrie of Morrisville looked as though he was about to score a goal, Abedian ran him down and deflected the ball before Barrie could take a shot off the goal box.

Originally, Abedian thought he would be playing forward, but he was switched to defender this year.

“Alex is truly the quintessential soccer player,” said teammate and senior midfielder Moni Sallan. “He was always willing to step up and try something new. His ability to play any position truly proves his physicality and flexibility.”

Abedian has grown from playing in five games his first year to playing in all of them. This season, he scored eight points as one of the team’s leading defenders.

“I hadn’t been a consistent starter during my time here,” he said.

“I think that being able to start and really contribute to the team has been my biggest accomplishment this season.”

His teammates agree. “Alex really contributed to the team this year. Not only with his numerous corner kicks, but with his focused attitude and driven athleticism,” Sallan said.

Abedian is no outsider to the world of soccer, having played since he was four years old. “Soccer is such dynamic game,” he said. “I just the love the competitiveness of it.”

Even though the team is internally competitive, Abedian said he loves the camaraderie of Carnegie Mellon’s team.

“I have loved playing for CMU because we are able to have a great Division-III program while going to an academically excellent school,” Abedian said.

When not on the soccer field, he is pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. He hopes to continue on to graduate school, but remains flexible. “I’ll just see where I go,” he said.

Before the second round match against Ohio Northern, Abedian sets his goals high.

“I want to do everything I can to help us go as far as possible in the NCAA tournament,” he said. “I want us to be champions.”