Oct. 17, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Playing on the back line can be a gritty, fairly unglamorous job, but the dominant play of junior defender Lauren Zealear has begun to turn some heads this season. Today Top Drawer Soccer honored the Nevada City, Calif. native with a spot on their National Team of the Week for the second time this season.
The Santa Clara defense, anchored in the middle by Zealear and Danielle Potts, has come together to shut out the Broncos' last five opponents and have not allowed a goal in the last 516:01 of play. With outside defenders Micaela Esquivel and Marian Dalmy moving forward to set up the attack much of the time, the main responsibility of containing opposing forwards falls on the shoulders of Zealear and Potts. In the last five matches they have allowed only 23 shots, including holding Oakland to only three shots on October 2 and Saint Mary's to two shots October 13.
"I congratulate Lauren on everything she's accomplished this year. She's really worked hard, her aggression and determination have really helped us on the team," said head coach Jerry Smith. "I'm always happy to see good kids who work hard get recognized on a national level. I think it really speaks well to her ability to step up for us."
Zealear's defensive skills will be counted on this Friday night as the Broncos head to Portland to battle the No. 2 Pilots in a pivotal WCC contest. Zealear and Potts will draw the assignment of marking Portland's Christine Sinclair, the NCAA's goal-scoring leader, as she has 27 goals on the year and has netted a goal in 16 straight matches, breaking the mark of 15 held by Santa Clara alum Brandi Chastain.
The highly-anticipated match between the fifth-ranked Broncos and second-ranked Pilots will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night. After the match, Santa Clara travels north to Spokane to take on the No. 22 Gonzaga Bulldogs Sunday at noon.