After a tremendous freshmen campaign, Sussex Tech’s Michelle Laz enjoyed another stellar season on the pitch in 2013, capping off her sophomore season helping the Ravens reach the State Semifinals for the first time in program history.
The Sussex Countian sat down with Michelle to discuss the team’s success, how her game has improved, and what she and the Ravens hope to accomplish down the road.
Laz began playing soccer, like many in the sport, at a young age. She was encouraged by her parents who Laz says have always supported her.
“I got into soccer at age 7,” said Laz. “My parents encouraged me to do any sport I wanted and I chose soccer. I have to thank my parents because they’ve definitely supported me from the beginning.”
Laz helped lead the Ravens to a 14-1 record and all the way to the State Semifinals this season. The experience for her and the team is something Laz will never forget.
“It was definitely an amazing experience, we worked really hard and we knew we had a good team,” said Laz. “It was memorable for everyone on the team and just amazing to get that far in the tournament for the first time.”
The standout sophomore can expect some extra attention focused her way next season after filling the stat sheet for the Ravens this season. Laz finished the season with 20 goals and 9 assists, adding 3 goals and 1 assist in the playoffs for the Ravens.
“She will be man-marked and even double teamed next year,” said Villa. “So, she is going to have to raise her level of fitness and develop her runs off the ball and quick finishing of her shots.”
The thought of more attention toward her on the field is something that simply doesn’t faze Laz, whose confidence shines through in her personality on and off the field.
“I actually think double teaming will help me out a lot,” said Laz. “I’ll have to make decisions more quickly because I’ll have less time to think out there, but it will help me improve my game which will help me and my team out as well.”
Laz’s attitude and talent on the field are what makes her such a great player and leader for the Ravens. Villa knew he was seeing a player with loads of potential when he saw Laz play at her first preseason camp as a freshman.
“The first time I saw Michelle play was at a preseason camp we had at Tech during the summer,” said Villa. “So many players have talent but they haven’t watched the game enough to understand the simple nuances of how a soccer match may evolve, and she does. The other aspect was her obvious skill of putting the ball in the back of the net; needless to say I was very excited.”
With the majority of this year’s Ravens team staying intact come next year, Laz is confident that the Ravens can not only repeat what they did this season, but eventually challenge for a State Title.
“I think we could go far, of course one of our goals is to win a State Championship,” said Laz. “If we work as hard as we have I know we can make a run at it, we’re all very confident and we know we could make history.”
With players like Michelle leading the way, don’t be surprised to see the Ravens back in the State Tournament next season, ready to challenge the best in the state.
“Michelle is a wonderful young lady,” said Villa. “Her teammates love her. She is humble but confident and grateful for the talents that she has been blessed.”