Atlanta Steam’s Lauran Ziegler making a strong case for League MVP

Emerging as the best free agent acquisition of the offseason, Lauran Ziegler has displayed remarkable versatility, establishing herself as a dominant two-way threat in the same capacity as division rival Chicago’s Alli Alberts and Heather Furr. In the aftermath of the Jacksonville Breeze contracting, Ziegler, who was also a 2014 Eastern Conference All-Fantasy Selection, was part of a remarkable amount of talent became that became available via free agency.

While the Seattle Mist acquired quarterback KK Matheny and leader Bryn Renda, (both Flag Football Hall of Famers who played together in college), the remainder of the free agent class was quickly acquired by the Atlanta Steam. Strengthening an already impressive roster, the club signed the likes of Ziegler, Dina Wojowski and Adrian Purnell.

During Steam training camp, despite not having yet played one game for the Steam, Ziegler was named a co-captain on offense alongside 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Dakota Hughes. Such an honor is testament to Ziegler’s remarkable leadership abilities. Taking into account that she also serves as an assistant softball coach at Brevard Community College (where she once played as an All-American); it allows the Steam to have someone whose knowledge makes her a mentor on the gridiron for the younger players.

Defensively, Ziegler and Purnell have paid remarkable dividends for the Steam, rekindling the magic that made them All-Fantasy selections with the Breeze. On a defensive unit led by Leanne Hardin, whose 25.5 tackles are tops in the league, the former Breeze standouts have complemented her well. Also sitting among the top five tacklers in league play, Purnell (who has also competed in Australia) has registered 20.5 tackles, while Ziegler’s 18 rank fifth overall.

Along with Nas Johnson, the two comprise a balanced running game in which either can be employed as a weapon of choice. Despite only 68 rushing yards, Ziegler ranks fifth in the league, with Johnson in fourth spot with 119 yards. The ability to produce such strong offensive numbers certainly places Ziegler in a class of her own, while allowing the Steam the opportunity to execute creativity on offense, which may prove to be a crucial strategy against the rival Chicago Bliss in the Eastern Conference championship game.

Like Alberts and Furr, Ziegler’s remarkable productivity through the first four games of the season is also reflected in three different categories on the Legends Football League’s statistical leader board. Of note, Ziegler is the receiving leader with 17 catches and 6 touchdown receptions. Trailing behind her in both categories is Alberts.

Part of her resounding success may come from the training phenomenon known globally as CrossFit. Taking into account its impact among both male and female athletes, CrossFit has produced remarkable results, as evidenced by Ziegler’s ability to excel in late game situations. In a past interview with Shape Magazine, Ziegler was among a group of Legends Football League superstars that shared some of their favorite workout tips. Citing CrossFit, Ziegler mentioned how building up your stamina was the secret to efficiency in properly finishing assigned workouts in a limited time. Although she disclosed that her favorite move is the squat clean, she also gains enjoyment out of just plain weight lifting.

A statistical marvel, Ziegler warrants serious consideration for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award. She possesses more than just remarkable athletic gifts and strong leadership ability but a profound maturity. Considering the visceral rivalry that once existed between Jacksonville and Atlanta, it would have been easy for the free agent acquisitions to not blend in and contribute to infighting. Instead, Ziegler and the rest of her former sisters from the Breeze have contributed to a culture of confidence, strengthening the bonds of teammates and friendship, while allowing the Steam the opportunity to prevail in every contest.

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Author: markstaffieri

A proud supporter of women in sport. My influences in covering women's sport include Andria Hunter and Jaclyn Hawkins. Both are former women’s hockey players who created their own websites, providing a deeper insight for their respective sport. Unable to identify with multi-millionaire male athletes, the role of women in sport is one that provides inspiration while preserving the spirit of sportsmanship. My first exposure to women and sport came through Geraldine Heaney and her legendary goal at the 1990 Women's World Hockey Championships. By composing player profiles on women from all sports, it is my opportunity to give back to the female sporting community by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. While women's hockey opened the door to a larger yet remarkable world of sport, the quantum leap in women's football and global growth of women's basketball have only helped to fuel my interest in the female game. Some of the athletes that I admire include Caroline Ouellette and Natalie Spooner (hockey), Lolo Jones (track), Connie Fekete and Sami Grisafe (football) plus Anne Erler and Heather Furr (LFL football). Other athletes consist of Sue Bird and Katie Smith (basketball) along with Barbara Mervin and Heather Moyse (rugby). In addition to my efforts on WordPress, I have also contributed to Bleacher Report, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, Hockey Canada, LFL Canada and Women's Hockey Life.

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