Ben Lau is a sophomore from Los Altos, California considering a major in biochemistry or neuroscience. He is a center-back on the Swarthmore men’s soccer team, who had two solid results over the span of fall break. Lau helped keep #7 Johns Hopkins at bay in the Garnet’s 2-2 draw on Saturday, October 12. Lau then led a back line that stifled McDaniel in a 1-0 Swarthmore victory last Saturday in which he scored the winner.
Joe Barile: How did you get recruited to Swarthmore and end up choosing the school?
Ben Lau: My club coach grew up playing with the assistant coach here, so when I expressed an interest in the program, my coach helped set up the connection. I attended the Elite 300 ID camp during the summer before my senior year, came for an official visit in the fall, then committed a week after that. I was looking at academically rigorous liberal arts colleges where I could also continue my soccer career. On my visit, I was really impressed with the overall intimacy of the school. The classes I attended were small and professors knew the students well. The team was like a family, and I really wanted to be part of a really tightly-knit team.
JB: On Saturday, the team got its 3rd shutout of the year. What was the defense able to do well against McDaniel?
BL: Our backline has been very solid all season, but a few mistakes every game have cost us many shutouts. On Saturday, we were able to keep the number of mistakes and unnecessary fouls to a minimum, and through constant communication we kept McDaniel from having many good chances. I’m really proud of my defensive partners.
JB: Scoring goals on set pieces has become a specialty of yours. What do you think makes you such an asset on set pieces?
BL: I’m really fortunate to be one of the taller players on the field, which puts the advantage in my favor when it comes to set pieces. In the off-season, our team put a lot of work into sharpening up our set piece performance. The service has been a lot better this season, and we’ve been able to generate scoring chances and a few goals every game from set pieces alone.
JB: How do you feel the men’s soccer team this year shapes up to the team last year?
BL: The team this season is very strong. We’ve been playing some great football and competing against and outplaying nationally ranked teams. Last year we ended our season with a 9-7-1 record, and with three games left, we are 9-2-2. I think we’re a much stronger team and am very proud of how much we’ve developed in the past year. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for this team.
JB:. What does the team need to do in order to make a playoff push?
BL: I try not to get caught up in the statistics, so the simplest answer is we need to win out the last three conference games. I think as long as we are able to impose our game against our opponents, avoid unnecessary errors and fouls, and compete, we will have a good chance at making playoffs.
JB: If you had to give yourself a player comparison with one professional player, who would it be?
BL: Though I despise Real Madrid, the closest comparison I can make for myself is to Raphael Varane. He plays next to Sergio Ramos, who is quite similar to my center back partner, Harry Nevins [’22]. We make a great duo.