When it came to the San Benito High girls soccer team’s Senior Night, Elizabeth Zendejas had the unique situation of being the lone honoree.
“Coach (Becky) Bonner had a nice little goody basket for me, and a lot of friends, family and guys off the soccer team came to support, which was really nice,” she said.
At first, Zendejas thought being the only senior on the team would make her lonely. However, that didn’t turn out to be the case as she said the squad has developed a true sisterhood and camaraderie.
“Everyone on the team is really close and we have each other’s backs all the time,” she said. “It’s a tight-knit team, and that helps with me being the oldest one.”
The forward scored her fifth goal of the season on Senior Night, a 2-0 win over Carmel on April 22. It happened to be the highlight of her season, as the team coalesced and had one of its best performances.
“Everyone was moving the ball, we were communicating and motivating one another,” she said.
Zendejas scored a goal against Carmel on a rebound after teammate Laine Lowi delivered a free kick that hit the top crossbar.
Zendejas also counts the team’s 6-0 win against North Monterey County earlier in the season as one of her highlights, as she scored two goals and worked well with fellow forward Nicole Maduena.
“We had good chemistry and everything was flowing,” she said. “Our midfielders were sending us beautiful balls and we were on fire.”
Developing chemistry has been one of the team’s biggest goals for this season. As the only senior on the team, Zendejas has led by her words and actions.
“We have a really young team and some of the girls might need support or encouragement because they’re playing varsity for the first time,” she said. “I remember being in that position when I was younger. I think the girls have done well and I’m so excited for them next year because I think they’ve built something nice where they have nowhere to go but up.”
Even though the team has more wins than losses, Zendejas said that hasn’t put a damper on the season in any way.
“I don’t think our record does justice in how we are playing as a team,” she said, “because if you watch the games, you see we put up a fight and we give it our all. We’ve had a lot of girls injured this year, but I’m really proud of how we’re doing. We don’t care who scores; we do what’s best for the team.”
Zendejas was exposed to soccer at an early age, as her family brought her to watch her older cousins play. Her first memory of playing soccer came at age 4, and 14 years later, she’s about to wrap up her playing career. She’s finishing with a sense of fulfillment and purpose, knowing she has done everything she could to set up the Balers for future success.