Fredonia native Vanessa Gillette capped off her record-breaking soccer season at Brockport with a highly prestigious honor.
Gillette, a junior in her first season at Brockport, was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division 3 All-East Region Second Team.
"It's a great honor," Gillette said. "I really didn't know too much about it. When I went to my coach, she said it's really tough to get named to. I was really excited that I did enough to get recognized for that."
Fredonia native and former Lady Hillbillies soccer star was recently named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division 3 All-East Region Second Team.
Gillette did enough and more in leading the Golden Eagles to their best season ever. Brockport not only won its first regular season SUNYAC championship, but was also nationally ranked for the first time ever - climbing as high as No. 18.
"It was a great season," Gillette added. "Our whole team stuck together. We were a really strong unit. To accomplish so much because of that was awesome. We pushed each other and that's what led to our success."
Gillette's contributions to Brockport's success can not be overemphasized. She set the school's single season records with 47 points and 21 goals. She led the entire SUNYAC with 37 points and 16 goals.
The former Lady Hillbillies superstar also turned in jaw-dropping performance in the first round of the ECAC tournament in which she scored four goals and recorded another four assists. The goals and points both tied Brockport records.
"We were all really anxious to play that game," Gillette recalled. "Our games all got pushed back because of (Hurricane Sandy). We hadn't played a game for two weeks. I was just really pumped to play. I layed it all out on the field. I really wanted to win and keep playing in that tournament."
The personal records, team success and individual awards would be a season for the ages for most, but Gillette isn't satisfied yet and has big plans for her senior season.
"Now that I set standards for myself, my coaches really want me to exceed them," she said. "I really want to score more goals than I did this past season. I'm setting the bar high. I want to score 30 goals.
"We want to get into the SUNYAC tournament again," Gillette added. "We don't know if we're going to have a chance at the ECAC tournament again. We've got a lot of great players coming back again next year. I'm really excited for that."
Gillette was also quick to credit others for her success.
"I've had great coaches," she said. "Even though I had three different coaches in my high school career, they all helped me a lot. My college coach has helped me to be aggressive. He's helped put more passion in my heart. He taught me a lot about loving the game.
"My family has always been very supportive," Gillette added. "They've always given me everything they can so I can be successful."
Part of that supportive family, her father Charles Gillette of Fredonia, feels like he gets back a whole lot more than he gives.
"She's made me feel like a fantastic recipient of love," he said. "I give her love and she gives it back to me by being the best person she can be. She stands proudly as a person who has decided what she wants to do and does it to the best of her ability."
The elder Gillette remembers fondly when he knew his daughter was something special on the soccer field.
"She was only four years old when she started playing soccer," he recalled. "That first year she played, one game she scored 20 goals. I coached her after that. Then when she was 12 she was already beyond what I could do."
Clearly, her skills are now beyond what anyone in the SUNYAC can do.