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Boler's stability helps Sailors

Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week

Tough senior, who was a big part of Newport Harbor's league-opening victory over defending-champ Edison, is a defensive leader for her team.

January 13, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Newport Harbor High School's Shannon Boler is the Athlete of the Week.
Newport Harbor High School's Shannon Boler is the… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Shannon Boler is a master in the back for the Newport Harbor High girls' soccer team.

Now all Boler needs to do is to master the art of doing a pull-up.

The senior wants to play soccer in college, and a couple of the schools she's looking at are Air Force and the Virginia Military Institute.

Most of the Sailors do push-ups in practice. When Boler loses a two-on-two drill, Coach Larry Draluck now has Boler do pull-ups.

"I was kind of surprised," Boler said. "He took me over to the goal post and he made me try to do a pull-up, but obviously I couldn't do one. He had to lift me up and make me do it. For the last couple of days, whenever my team loses or we have to do a punishment, I have to do pull-ups."

Coach and player know the pull-ups will come in handy when Boler needs to take the fitness test for Air Force. But, in terms of her play, she has been pulling up the defense of the Sailors for three years now from her center fullback position.

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It was evident last week when the Sailors stunned defending Sunset League champion Edison, 1-0, in overtime. It was a great way for the Sailors to open league, and Boler helped lead the defensive stand.

"She's strong, she's a ball-winner, she's a good distributor," Draluck said. "She prevents a lot of opportunities for the opponent."

She is well-rounded on the pitch. That extends to academics, where Boler carries a 3.8 grade-point average.

If you haven't figured it out by now, she's also tough. Her favorite movie is "Gladiator." Last summer, she tried kickboxing as a way to stay in shape.

Draluck just knows she's a great defender. Boler said he's the one who put her at that position in the first place, when he coached her in club for the Southern California Blues when Boler was 12.

"At first I didn't really like it," said Boler, who played forward and midfielder in her AYSO and early club years. "When I started playing defender in high school, sophomore year, I got used to it. Now I can't really imagine playing a different position. It's where I feel more comfortable now."

Newport Harbor feels comfortable with Boler back there, too, specifically with the type of ball-control offense that the Sailors like to run. Last year, she helped Newport Harbor make the CIF playoffs for the first time in six years.

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