“I’m looking forward to seeing the growth and leadership specifically from Lauren Stack, Marla Giordano, and Alli King,” the former Cal Poly San Luis Obispo player says.
The Centurions’ other returners will include Catie Bride and Shauna Whitney, who are defenders; forwards Alife Fitzpatrick and Abby Kim; and Kayli Sandoval, who plays inner offense and midfielder. All are in the Class of 2019.
Meanwhile, in the closing months of the offseason, Zimmermann is encouraging her veterans as well as her younger players to take advantage of training with a local club team during July, as well as several camps that are available for individual players.
Stack, a midfielder who can play offense or defense, “is very well-rounded. We can play her in the midfield because her shots are so strong,” says the Centurion coach. “I would move her around depending on what the other team is doing, and what other players are doing.
“[Lauren] is willing to move around wherever we need her.” Stack is a returning starter for UC.
Giordano, another rising senior, plays forward. “She’s just really aggressive. She has improved a lot playing in the offseason,” says Zimmerman. “[Marla] is passionate.”
King finds herself coming back from an injury later in the season in fall 2017 that kept her from starting. “She’s a strong goalie. She has a lot of confidence. She talks a lot to her teammates.
“She gets to shots you don’t think she can get to, including low shots and high corner shots, which are really difficult to reach. Those are hard shots to block, but she is able to get her stick up.”
In summation, with King, “We need her healthy,” says her coach.
The coming season will be Zimmermann’s fourth coaching at UC High, her second at the helm after close friend Krista Jackson moved to the head coaching job at La Jolla Country Day School.
The coach’s emphasis on “working as a team and having each other’s back” stems from her own playing experience on her club team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, her alma mater. “During my freshman, sophomore, and junior years, the team energy was good,” she shares. “Going into senior year, my two best friends and I decided to try to cultivate the camaraderie that we had enjoyed on the team as freshmen. We won the national club championship, as a result.
“When people get along off the field, they play well together on the field. We didn’t focus on drills. That was our coaches’ job. Individually, we might not have been the best players. But together, we were the strongest.”
Zimmermann gained a lot from working with Jackson in 2015 and 2016. “Though it’s only going to be my second year as head coach,” she says, “I had a lot of input with Krista.”
The Centurions are aiming toward their season opener Aug. 28. “They’re a really compassionate group,” says the coach of her players. “That’s the coolest thing, watching the players grow in confidence, not just as players but as people. You (as a player) have to be very responsible to balance all their responsibilities as students, team members, and the like.”