SAN JOSE -- Brianna Visalli does not shy away from challenges. The Valley Christian soccer standout set some pretty lofty goals for her senior season and achieved all of them.

Her team won the West Catholic Athletic League season title, and she played well enough to be named the league's player of the year, even though the competition included North Carolina-bound Annie Kingman of St. Francis. Headed to Pepperdine next season, Visalli also is the Mercury News player of the year.

An attacking center midfielder, she was vital on both ends of the field. When Visalli was not scoring, she was usually setting up opportunities for teammates.

"Her field vision is awesome," said Valley Christian coach Jolene Fugate, noting that Visalli also was huge on defense. "She was up and back. She was the core of our team."

It was a perfect season for Visalli and her teammates, except for the ending. But Visalli even looks at the knee injury that sidelined her during the Central Coast Section playoffs through an optimistic lens.

"It was upsetting," she said. "But I actually found it to be a blessing in disguise. I could prepare for college at a slower rate and more efficiently."


Advertisement

The injury occurred early in the semifinals of the WCAL tournament against St. Ignatius, an opponent Valley Christian defeated twice during league play. Valley Christian lost the third meeting 2-1, then saw its season end in the next game, the quarterfinals of the CCS Division II playoffs against eventual champion Archbishop Mitty. Valley Christian fell in a penalty-kick shootout after the teams played to a 0-0 draw.

"I felt like we had run the long race and the last sprint wasn't possible due to injury," Visalli said.

Visalli finished with 17 goals and 10 assists in 18 games. But as Fugate points out, her captain the past two seasons brought so much more than scoring to the program.

"Bri is obviously a tremendously talented soccer player but more importantly she is a leader -- on our team and on our campus," Fugate said.

A four-year scholar athlete, Visalli has participated in community and sports outreach programs and has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.176.

All-Mercury News girls soccer
First team
Forward: Jillienne Aguilera, soph., Woodside
Forward: Shaelan Murison, soph., Santa Clara
Forward: Brittney Vela, junior, Branham
Midfielder: Annie Kingman, senior, St. Francis
Midfielder: Meghan Noyes, senior, Archbishop Mitty
Midfielder: Brianna Visalli, senior, Valley Christian
Defender: Kristie Braken-Guelke, senior, Los Gatos
Defender: Mabinty Kanu, senior, Archbishop Mitty
Defender: Jacey Pederson, soph., Palo Alto
Defender: Gianna Rosati, senior, Woodside
Goalkeeper: Alexis Smith, senior, Valley Christian
Second team
Forward: Lindsay Bettinger, senior, St. Ignatius
Forward: Marquel Love, senior, Archbishop Mitty
Forward: Chandler Wickers, senior, Menlo
Midfielder: Kelsey Andrews, soph., Burlingame
Midfielder: Nicole Carson, soph., Valley Christian
Midfielder: Tierna Davidson, soph, Sacred Heart Prep
Midfielder: Angela Karamanos, senior, Los Gatos
Midfielder: Aleksandra Vojvodic, junior, Leigh
Defender: Julia Goupil, senior, Los Altos
Defender: Xochitl Hunter, senior, St. Francis
Goalkeeper: Sophie Brotzel, senior, Mountain View
Coach of the Year
Jack Schweitzer, Los Gatos