Senior playmaker leads way for Women’s Soccer
Samantha Verduzco ups her playmaking prowess in her senior season. | Caitlin Gaines/THE CHIMES
In her four years at Biola, forward Samantha Verduzco has scored 20 times and assisted seven more goals. Her role in her senior season has shifted more towards attacking responsibilities with the graduation of starting forwards Jessie Burns and Taylor Venegas.
Stepping up her game
“Starting off the year I knew that I had to step up,” Verduzco said. “[Burns and Venegas who] started with me last year graduated, and I knew that I had to become the leader up top.”
Verduzco has done exactly that by starting in all four of the Eagles’ games so far, scoring a goal in three of them and assisting two other goals. She has come through with two game-winning goals and two more game-winning assists, including one of the latter in the Eagles’ latest match against Hope International University.
“[Scoring] is her thing,” said senior defender Bri Mikalson. “Somehow she just puts it in the back of the net. It gives the team lots of confidence. She’s been a key player ever since her freshman year.”
In her freshman year, Verduzco played in all 19 matches, started in two, and since then she has steadily worked into a more regular starting role. Her hard work put her in prime position to earn starting roles ever since her sophomore season.
“I have grown in my confidence in her as the seasons have gone on,” said head coach Erin Brunelle. “This past season we have asked even more of her.”
A knack for clutch moments
The forward’s ability to provide clutch moments has also proven vital to the Eagles’ success. Verduzco has scored eight game-winning goals in her time at Biola, including the game-winning overtime goal at Corban University on Sept. 2. She also provided the cross for sophomore forward Sarah Jeffries’ double-overtime goal in the season opening win at Western Oregon University.
In past years, challenging Verduzco to do more has paid off for the Eagles, as she has scored goals in all four of her seasons. Verduzco’s impact on the field did not go unnoticed as she earned a spot in the All-Golden State Athletic Conference team for her performance during her sophomore and junior seasons.
As a senior, Verduzco shows her teammates how hard work pays off, and how their time as a college athlete is invaluable.
“I hope that I show [younger teammates] that they should never take [playing in college] for granted,” Verduzco said. “That they never take the time that they get on the field for granted and enjoy their time on the team.”
Her teammates understand this message loud and clear from her work on the field.
“[She has taught me] just to never put your head down,” said sophomore forward Annie Alvarez. “You work hard and you will get your time.”
Verduzco led the team into their first NCAA Division II season, proving vital in helping them to an undefeated nonconference record, and will look to continue her success in conference play. The Eagles look to make an impact in the PacWest starting with their next match at Dixie State University on Sept. 23.