Burdett saves record for herself
Arizona soccer’s all-time shutout leader has a new name: Lainey Burdett. After keeping the New Hampshire Wildcats from finding the back of the net on Sept. 2, the senior became the first player in Arizona history with at least 21 clean sheets.
“I mean it’s really cool to have that record, but I again wouldn’t take full credit for that because I couldn’t do it without the defense in front of me and midfielders and forwards,” Burdett said. “It all starts with them, too, because when they defend it makes my job a lot easier.”
For Burdett, it’s been a moment in the making since she stepped onto campus.
The Las Vegas native enrolled early at Arizona after attending Sierra Vista High School, and she was able to participate in games during the 2015 spring season. She proved from the beginning that she was a force to be reckoned with; in those games she did not allow a single goal in.
“Coming in a semester early definitely was a little nerve-wracking, but it was a lot of fun. I think it helped get me into the groove of how college soccer is played, and really build relationships with other players to then feel comfortable playing on the field — especially at a goalkeeper position,” Burdett said.
The goalkeeper’s confidence came early on and has been unfazed since.
As a true freshman, Burdett participated in 16 games during the 2015 season. That year, she was awarded Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week for keeping a clean sheet against then No. 16 Washington State, where she recorded a career-high nine saves.
As a sophomore, Burdett also participated in 16 games for the ‘Cats and had seven shutouts that season. The keeper carded a goals-against average of 1.16. and made 59 saves.
The following season, Burdett started and played every minute of each game for the Wildcats. As a team, they collected 11 wins and Burdett contribued to that success with 85 saves. She only let 17 goals in throughout the season and added another seven shutouts to her name. That earned her a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team.
One word to describe Burdett? According to senior Hailey Mazzola, “resilient.” Mazzola was in the same recruiting class as Burdett and has had the opportunity to play with her all four seasons.
“You can always rely on her to make big saves during really important games. She also brings really great energy to us and helps the team get pumped and stay strong throughout games,” Mazzola said.
So far this season, the Wildcats have a winning record of 5-1, and Burdett has only given up one goal in the last six games.
The senior shines in the back of the net when she suits up for the Wildcats, but it’s only part of the work that most people get to see. Burdett’s offseason training habits play a big role in her success with Arizona. During the summer, Burdett plays on the FC Tucson Women in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
“It’s getting touches on the ball and handling it and just keeping with it,” Burdett said.
Sometimes people forget that student athletes are students first. Burdett has also had success off the field. She was recognized in 2016 and 2017 as a Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention. Burdett is majoring in business with a concentration in marketing.
The UA keeper will be graduating in spring of 2019 but admitted that she would love to keep playing after her college soccer career is over. She plans to enter the National Women’s Soccer League draft.
Her main focus right now, however, is finishing her last season strong.
“For the season, I hope to keep improving my game, constantly getting better and then making it into the tournament and keep wins coming our way,” Burdett said.
Arizona soccer’s motto this year is “Building a Legacy”, and Burdett will surely be leaving one with the record she has broken this year.
“She’s good, and she knows she good. She’s confident. We know she’s good, you guys know she’s good, we just gotta keep her sharp and focused,” head coach Tony Amato said.
Arizona has one final non-conference game against Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 14 in Mulcahy Stadium before heading to Stanford on Sept. 21 to kick off the Pac-12 conference play.
That means that Burdett still has plenty of games left to increase that shutout record.
“I’m grateful for it and glad that I was able to establish that, but it doesn’t stop there, it continues,” Burdett said.
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