Klotzs breakout season guiding USF to success

USF women’s soccer forward Chelsea Klotz has a knack for finding the back of the net.

And with the Bulls working toward a potential postseason berth, Klotz can point to a change in her lifestyle before the season started.

“I actually hired a personal trainer over the offseason,” said Klotz, who leads the Bulls into their last weekend of the regular season, hosting St. John’s on Friday and Syracuse Sunday. “I worked on some stuff that I wanted to improve, like my touch and my shooting.”

Klotz has been key to a successful season for USF. After leading the team with nine goals last season, Klotz has elevated her game even more, breaking her career high for goals with her 10th of the season in a 1-1 draw against Providence (8-3-2) on Oct. 8.

That goal put her into a tie for sixth place for most single-season goals in team history. Through 16 games this season, Klotz ranks high in many offensive categories, leading the Big East in shots and shots per game, ranking second in goals scored and goals per game and sixth in points with 21.

But Klotz, who also has scored four game-winning goals this year, said her success can be attributed to the talent around her.

“You know, there were some times last year where I felt like there was the pressure that I had to score,” Klotz said. “I was forcing a lot of stuff. Now, this year, because we have “V” (junior midfielder Venicia Reid) and (sophomore) Taylor (Patterson), too, I know that there are other people. They have my back, and that really takes a lot of pressure off of me as a goal scorer.”

With several contributors, USF is on the cusp of its second consecutive postseason berth with just two games remaining in the regular season.

After failing to reach the Big East tournament in 2008, the Bulls recorded their first-ever Big East tournament victory last season with a 1-0 win over DePaul before losing to Notre Dame 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

The team’s nine wins this season ties last year’s mark for the most in one season under coach Denise Schilte-Brown.

With Klotz leading the way, USF’s 27 goals this season are tied for fifth most in school history and are the most since 2002, when the team generated 28.

“I don’t think defenses are focusing any more on me because they can’t,” Klotz said. “The defense has to concentrate on all of us as a whole because we are an attacking team. So the defense can’t just focus on me.”

Schilte-Brown said Klotz has made great strides since she first arrived on campus.

“I am proud of the way that Chelsea has improved since she started here,” said Schilte-Brown. “She has really improved her maturity and fitness. Chelsea has worked really hard to get where she is now.”