Zack Wolfenzon is about as cool a customer as they come. He’s not the kind of guy to worry about things he can’t control, and he’s certainly not the type to put undue pressure on himself.
Perhaps that is the key to the La Jolla Country Day junior’s success on the soccer field. And his take-it-as-it-comes attitude seems to have translated to his teammates.
“He doesn’t allow missing to bother him,” Torreys’ coach Jerry Fleischhacker said. “There are some kids who are really good, but if they miss a couple scoring chances, it really bothers them and affects them the rest of the game. But with him, he could miss four or five and still think he’s going to make the next one. He’s not cocky or over-confident; he just doesn’t let it bother him.” Wolfenzon, a forward, hasn’t missed often this season; he led the Torreys with 20 goals entering the week of Feb. 4, a number that put him among the top scorers in all of San Diego County. He had also helped Country Day’s boys soccer team to a 15-2-3 overall record and a 4-1 record in the Coastal League’s South division, good for a first-place tie with city rival The Bishop’s School.
His 20 goals were one shy of the school record for a junior, Fleischhacker said.
Wolfenzon said he doesn’t get caught up in numbers or individual accomplishments, rather he focuses on making the most of each opportunity and letting the results take care of themselves.
“I try to just let things happen and not think about things too much,” Wolfenzon said. “You can’t dwell on a missed shot, because you know you’re probably going to get another chance.” Wolfenzon is also getting more chances this season than last.
He tallied 17 goals last season, when, remarkably, he spent a good portion of the year playing goalkeeper. That was only by necessity, though, as the Torreys were without a true keeper and Wolfenzon had had some experience between the posts.
“It’s not only about scoring, but just getting to do what I love to do,” he said. “I’ve been playing forward since I was 8 years old. It was tough last year playing goal and sometimes not even touching the ball; we’ve got a great goalie now in Kyle Reese, and it’s a ton of fun when I can play up front and not worry about what’s going on back there.” Added Fleischhacker, “It was difficult to have to have him (in goal), but if you are giving up goals, then there’s not much you can do to win games. He’s athletic enough to do it, and he was unlucky that I saw him in similar emergency situations with his club team.” Both Wolfenzon and Fleischhacker are happy he is back out in the field now, where he can be most effective for the Torreys.
He is an excellent accelerator and, like all great forwards, is terrific at controlling the ball on first touch.
“His strength is finishing; he’s a classic goal-scorer,” Fleischhacker said. “He may not do much for the first 30 minutes, and then he touches the ball for the first time and scores. There are just some people who have a knack for scoring. He puts in the maximum effort when the opportunity to score appears.” Wolfenzon spends most of his time outside the classroom playing soccer, either for the Torreys or his club team, the San Diego Surf. He said he plans to play in college, hopefully for a Division I team, either in the Ivy League or at another East Coast school in the east.
Until then, his focus is on finding the net for the Torreys, which he is doing remarkably well. “He gets most of the glory, which is fine because he has a great attitude,” Fleischhacker said. “But as we all know, it’s not just the guy who scores the goals, and he gives credit to all the other guys on the team.” With four games remaining in regular season play; three of those being league contests, the Torreys looked to be in good position to secure a high seed in the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV playoffs. They hope to ride a wave of momentum into the postseason and go deeper than they did last year, when they fell one game short of reaching the section championship game.
“We started off the season really well, and all of a sudden, we were 10-1, then 11-1, and it just kept going,” Wolfenzon said. “We never really thought much about it; we’ve all just been having fun out there, and the winning has just come. It’s easy to do that when you think about it that way.”