High school soccer season is well underway, and the Zachary boys and girls are in the thick of district play.
The boys team is at No. 14 in the power rankings.
The Broncos started the season with six straight wins before a tie with McKinley and a 1-0 loss to St. Amant.
“We are starting to click as a team,” said Scott Delhom, who is in his fourth year as the boys coach.
“The more games we play, the better we become. The players are starting to gel very well together. We need to make sure the recent loss doesn’t affect our future game performance.”
The team to beat in Zachary’s district is Denham Springs, which beat out the Broncos by a goal for last year’s title.
“This year, they seem to be playing very well,” Delhom said. “We should match up very well when we meet them for the first time on Jan. 21 at Denham Springs.”
Other top matches in the near future on Zachary’s schedule are Dutchtown on Jan. 5 and West Monroe on Jan. 30.
Offensively, the Broncos are led by sophomore midfielder Conner Gibbon with six goals; junior forward Collin Delhom with five goals; and senior forward Jude Brian with three goals. The defense is sparked by junior Benton Wesley with three goals against and goalie Martin Fontenot with 32 saves and three goals against.
“We have a very strong midfield this year, and we seem to be scoring goals more frequently,” Delhom said. “This year, we had to rebuild the defense around center defender Benton Wesley.”
Like the boys, the Zachary girls are in the thick of their district schedule. They recently upset Denham Springs 1-0 for the league lead with a 2-1 district record.
The Lady Broncos are coached by Keavin Tanner. The team’s captain is Meagan Thierry and co-captain is Carly Miller. Sophomore Kailey Tanner leads the team with nine goals, and freshman Leanne Sorrel has three goals. Senior goal keeper Emily Claeboe has 80-plus saves so far this season.
“Everyone contributes to the team, even if they don’t get much playing time,” Tanner said. “Our back line includes junior Abby Fuselier and senior Amber Randall, who have stepped up big this season.”
Tanner said getting to the top tier of girls high school soccer has been an ongoing challenge for teams like his.
“We can compete, but we will have a hard time breaking into the top 10 until Zachary youth soccer becomes more competitive. Our players do not play year-round like other schools. However, it’s not all about winning; they learn lifelong lessons during training sessions on how to be mentally tough and to overcome adversity. We love to compete and win, but there’s more to it — being a part of a program and representing Zachary with pride.
“We have 12 games remaining, including a tournament, so we still have lots of soccer to play.”
The soccer schedules are available at athletics.zachary schools.org by clicking High School Sports, then the links for Bronco soccer and Lady Bronco soccer. At the end of the season, the girls and boys teams will be seeded to compete in the Division I state tournament.
Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at email@example.com.