Pacific athletes of the week
Last week: Scored seven goals as the Panthers completed their longest road trip of the regular season, four games at Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan, with four victories to improve to 8-0-0, Yokota’s best start since 2003.
Welch, a senior, scored twice Friday in Yokota’s 3-0 shutout of E.J. King, then tallied a goal and assisted on one as the Panthers beat Japanese club team Islands 2-1. The next day, Welch scored in each half to power the Panthers over the Cobras 2-0, and notched two goals in a 3-0 win over Islands.
“Stefan is a gifted player,” coach Tim Pujol said of Welch, who has 11 goals and six assists this season, giving him 62 goals and 63 assists for his four years as a Panthers starter. “He’s really humble, a team guy and he wants to win for Yokota and the team, not about him.”
Nile C. Kinnick, Japan
Last week: Scored six goals, boosting the defending DODDS-Japan league champion Red Devils to a weekend sweep of Matthew C. Perry at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station and improving them to 5-2-2.
Zukowski, a senior, scored twice in Kinnick’s 3-0 shutout of Perry on Friday at Samurai Field. The next morning, Zukowski scored a season-high four goals as Kinnick beat Perry 7-1. Zukowski has 11 goals this season, and 41 for her career as a four-year starter, in which she’s played almost every position except goalkeeper.
“Franny loves the game, and even when the chips are down, she plays hard for all 80 minutes,” Kinnick coach Nicolas Hindie said. “When she’s on, she’s a player to watch out for.”
— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff