Women's Soccer's Moser Has Big Shoes to Fill

Oct. 23, 2001

BERKELEY - It's tough enough starting as a freshman. But Cal's Mallory Moser is faced with the difficult task of replacing one of the best goalkeepers in school history - Maite Zabala.

Zabala, who is a volunteer assistant coach for the Golden Bears, started in goal for four years at Cal from 1997-00. The two-time first team All-Pac-10 selection is the program's career shutouts (26.5) and saves (277) leader.

Moser came to Cal with a long list of her own credentials. She played at Mill Valley's Branson High School, where she was a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America honoree and the Marin County Athletic League Player of the Year as a senior. She also is a member of the U.S. under-18 national team pool and has extensive experience on the Olympic Development Program District V and the NorCal State teams.

Even with an outstanding soccer resume, Moser has had some growing pains as a collegiate rookie.

'I feel like it's hard to come from the club level and the ODP level and step into a Division I women's soccer game, especially at Cal where all of the players are high caliber,' said Moser. 'At first, I definitely was struggling with handling the pace. But, I try to improve my play with each practice and game.

'I've been gaining confidence. It's definitely hard to step in as a freshman in the first game and be totally confident. I think that with each game my play and confidence has improved.'

Moser has started all 15 games in goal this season and has played in 1315 of a possible 1381 minutes. She has allowed 14 goals for a 0.96 goals-against-average. Cal is 10-4-1 overall in 2001, and Moser is 10-3-1 in goal. Bears sophomore goalkeeper Katie Pittman is 0-1.

Moser credits Zabala with a lot of her improvement this year.

'Maite is awesome,' said Moser. 'She just gets in my ear and stands behind the goal. She lets me know when I screw up and when I do a good job. She's been coached by Duncan (Lyon, former Cal assistant and Bay Area club coach) also, so we've had similar coaching techniques throughout our (soccer) involvement. That helps a lot. She knows what she's talking about.'

One of Moser's best games this season came in a 2-1 road victory over third-ranked Santa Clara. She grabbed a collegiate-high six saves to help lead Cal to its first victory over the arch-rival Broncos since 1993.

The Santa Clara game was one of many moments that Cal coach Kevin Boyd has been impressed with Moser's performance.

'She's been playing very well,' said Boyd, who first coached Moser at the club level. 'There's a lot of pressure put on someone who comes in their freshman year and tries to play, especially at goalkeeper where one mistake is glaring. For her to step in the first game and have to fill Maite's shoes, which is very difficult, she's done well. It gives us an idea of what type of athlete and player we have in terms of the future. We think she's going to be excellent by the time she's done at Cal.'

Boyd rates Moser as one of the top two freshman keepers in the country this season. Zabala's evaluation of Moser is just as favorable.

'I'm very impressed with her,' said Zabala. 'She's so athletic. She has so much potential. She's playing well now, but she has so much more that she can give. It's amazing. We've been working on her distribution. She has amazing diving and shot blocking abilities. Experience is going to help her read the game a lot better.'

But how safe does Zabala feel her records are?

'Hopefully, my records will stand for four years, but it won't surprise me at all if Mallory breaks them.'

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