Page One

Bears surviving Schott’s absence

By Jared Green
Friday September 20, 2002


The Cal women’s soccer team is on a roll. The Bears have racked up two wins and a tie against their last three opponents, all of them ranked in the top 10 nationally. That’s not a big surprise, considering the Bears are currently ranked fifth. The big surprise is that they’re doing it without their best player. 

Senior forward Laura Schott, a two-time All-American and potentially the school’s all-time leading scorer, hasn’t played since the opener against Ohio State. She was red-carded in that game, forcing her out of the following match, then sprained her knee in practice. She will likely not play on Sunday against Fresno State and will be re-evaluated next week. 

Several players have stepped up in Schott’s absence. Senior midfielder Brittany Kirk had two goals, including a last-minute equalizer against St. Mary’s and the game-winner against defending national champion Santa Clara, and an assist last weekend, while freshman Tracy Hamm has three goals while starting in Schott’s spot up front. 

“It’s remarkable what we’ve done with our All-American sitting on the bench for all but 70 minutes of the season so far,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “What we’ve done has been based more on toughness, grit and preparation.” 

Schott has never had a multi-game injury before, and she’s been surprised how the team has performed with her watching from the sideline. 

“It’s really cool that we’re doing so well without me,” she said. “But of course I’d rather be in there.” 

Schott is just six goals away from breaking Joy Fawcett’s school goal-scoring record. She needed just six games to score that many goals last season, but scores are harder to come by as the season gets older. The Bears have just four games left until Pac-10 play starts, and Schott is anxious about getting her season started. 

“This really wasn’t a very good time for something like this to happen,” she said. “I hope I can come back at full speed right away.” 

Boyd has gotten the opportunity to get a prolonged look at freshmen Hamm and Dania Cabello thanks to Schott’s absence, with both Bay Area products impressing early. But he knows the team needs Schott to come back and take control if the Bears are to have more success than last season, when they lost in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. 

“Being able to add an All-American halfway through the season can only give us a lift,” he said. “With Laura on the field, teams have to concentrate on stopping her. Give her one chance and she’ll put it in the back of the net. That’s something you can’t replace.” 

Notes: Kirk was been named to the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week for Sept. 9-15. Earlier this week, Kirk was selected Pac-10 Player of the Week and to the Soccer America Team of the Week.