The Atlanta Steam (3-2) are preparing for an August 15 battle with the Chicago Bliss (4-0) in the Eastern Conference title game in what is arguable the biggest game in the three-year history of the LFL franchise, bigger even than the Legends Cup appearance last season, and Lauran Ziegler will play a huge role in determining whether or not the Steam will advance to their second consecutive Legends Cup.
Ziegler has suited up for four different teams in her LFL career, and has been an All-Fantasy player at each stop. This season, her first with Atlanta, Ziegler is playing perhaps the best all-around ball she has played in her career, and her season stats reflect that.
Not only does Ziggy lead the Steam (and the league) in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions (20, 223, 7), she is second on the team in rushing yards (112), and averaged 8.0 yards per carry-better than the 6.6 YPC that Bliss MVP candidate ChrisDell Harris has on the season. Ziegler scored 10 TDs (three rushing, seven receiving) in five games. The 60 points scored by Ziegler was almost a quarter of the 249 total points the Steam put on the board this season.
Ziegler’s contributions on the offensive side of the ball are impressive enough to put her in the MVP talk, but her role in an Atlanta defense that is allowing an average of 13 points a game pushes her to the top-tier of candidates. Ziggy has 23 tackles, good for fourth in the league, but the intensity she brings to the field is just as important as the number of tackles she’s made. The Steam D had a well deserved reputation as a smash-mouth, in-your-face unit in the first two seasons in the league, but Ziegler brought a new level of intensity to an already impressive squad.
Ziegler finished in a virtual tie with Harris in a mid-season fan poll for the league MVP, and her performance against Omaha in the final regular season game of the year should improve her chances of taking home the honor.
Add to that her Hall of Fame nomination, and Lauran Ziegler is having what has to be considered a career season. A trip to the Legends Cup would be a great way to finish the season, but Atlanta will have to beat Chicago on August 15 for that to become a reality.
Fans can be sure that Ziggy, Dakota Hughes and all the Steammates will leave it all on the field in Chicago in their defense of the conference title.
Steam 2015 Schedule
WK 1: Saturday, April 11 vs. Chicago (L, 27-24)
WK 2: Saturday, April 18 @ Omaha (W, 79-0)
WK 4: Saturday, May 2 vs. Omaha (W, 62-0)
WK 5: Sunday, May 10 @ Chicago (L, 29-13)
WK 14: Friday, July 10 vs. Omaha (W, 71-13)
WK 20: Saturday, August 15 @ Chicago (Eastern Conference Title Game)
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
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