Defender recognized for outstanding play

By Steve Contorno

Junior defender Emily Zurrer was twice honored for her performance in Friday’s 1-0 victory against No. 9 Florida. Zurrer was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday and was listed on Soccer America’s Team of the Week on Tuesday.

The Vancouver native has garnered the conference honor three times in her career and was even named Big Ten Co-Defender of the Year in 2006. It is also her third time on Soccer America’s Team of the Week.

“I’m really honored to get an award like that, but honestly I really don’t think I did anything more than anyone else on the backline on our team,” Zurrer said. “It was definitely a team effort. It was nice to get the award, but it’s also a team award.”

Zurrer, who is also on the Mac Herman Trophy watch list for the nation’s top player, has been an instrumental part of the defense since joining the Illini in 2005. In the team’s five games this season, Zurrer has played in nearly every minute, tallying 448 out of 450 possible minutes.

On the backline, Zurrer has helped lead the Illini to three shutouts.

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“It’s great for Emily to get recognition, but I told the team today, she’s the torch bearer,” head coach Janet Rayfield said. “She’s bearing the torch of recognition that our defense did a great job this weekend against a very talented Florida team.”

Zurrer is the second Illini to receive a conference honor this season. Senior forward Ella Masar was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week earlier this season.