Natalie Zimmerer is typically one of the tallest girls on the soccer field.
The 5-foot-10 striker used her height advantage Friday to put Clovis North High above the pack in the challenging Tri-River Athletic Conference.
Zimmerer leaped above the defense to head in the first goal and added what proved to be the winner a little later as the Broncos -- ranked No. 2 in the Central Section by The Bee -- downed No. 1 Central 3-1 in a matchup sure to have Division I playoff seeding implications come mid-February.
"I'm pretty tall," Zimmerer said. "So that's my role, get up in the air and get those balls."
Zimmerer's header off a free kick by Kelsee Pottorff came in the 37th minute. Her second goal, in the 60th minute off a cross from Darby Emmons, essentially sealed the outcome as Clovis North (4-0) moved a game-and-a-half ahead of Buchanan (2-1-1) and two up on Central (2-2) in pursuit of the school's first TRAC girls soccer title.
Breanah Frampton also scored, off an Emmons assist.
The Broncos (12-2-1 overall) close the first half of TRAC play Wednesday at four-time defending champion Buchanan.
"This will help give us more confidence," Zimmerer said. "It's pretty nice to be on top now. Everyone is chasing us, and we're ready."
Central (16-4) entered with an offense that had produced 56 goals in 19 games, featuring a pair of 40-point producers in Mariah Montoya (16 goals, eight assists) and Justine Fuentes (18, four).
But defenders Megan Claypool, Katrina Thompson and Marisa Thompson locked down the Grizzlies' duo for the most part, and what got past them was smothered by goalie Riana Castaneda.
"Defensively we held strong," said Broncos assistant Travis Smith, who guided the team with coach Nick Pappanduros home recovering from a medical procedure. "They really stepped up, played tough and gave us a chance to win. I feel we have the best backfield in the league."
The Grizzlies, who tied Buchanan for the league title last season, were shut out until the 87th minute when Kelly Garzon converted a penalty kick.
"We didn't put a very good effort out there today," Central coach Brandon Kwock said. "You can't have an off day in this league, not when you're playing these kinds of teams."
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