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Double play

Observer photo by Al Frey Ali Bisaccia eludes her defender during CVU’s game in South Burlington on Saturday.
Observer photo by Al Frey
Ali Bisaccia eludes her defender during CVU’s game in South Burlington on Saturday.

CVU star carves out time to lead golf and soccer teams

By Lauren Read

Observer correspondent

When the Vermont Principals’ Association announced that golf was moving from spring to fall this season, Champlain Valley Union High School senior Ali Bisaccia had resigned herself to giving up a sport.

The star soccer player decided to focus her senior season on the field and say good-bye to golf.

The VPA made the announcement in February, and Bisaccia shined on the course during what she thought would be her final high school golf season, finishing sixth in the Division I state championship tournament last spring.

The Williston resident was prepared to give up golf for her senior year. But a call from CVU golf coach Tammy Anthony, who is building a program that began two years ago, started to change her mind.

“We made an arrangement,” Bisaccia said. “The golf rules are you only have to play in two matches to qualify for states, and states doesn’t conflict with a game, so I was able to work around that.

“I love soccer and I love golf,” she continued. “I knew the team could use me for both … I was able to look at our schedule and figure it out.”

Bisaccia, who was one of the founding members of the golf team in her sophomore year, approached her girls soccer coach Stan Williams about the possibility of doing both. He was more than willing to make it work.

“We were open to it,” Williams said. “It’s a unique situation with the switch of the seasons. She had success last year, and the CVU girls (golf) team is growing.

“We were pretty sure there was a way to make it work. We encouraged her to give it a go.”

Now Bisaccia is shining in both soccer — where she has three goals and one assist as a team captain for the 7-0 Redhawks — and on the golf course — where she is one of the four CVU players to qualify for next week’s D-I state championship tournament.

“It is great to see her have dual success,” Williams said.

In order to make the two-team system work, Bisaccia makes soccer her priority and then makes it to golf practices and matches as her schedule allows. She spends lots of time at the driving range during free periods to keep her game fresh.

“My skill level hasn’t dropped,” she said.

Because the two sports are so different, Bisaccia says her play in either sport has not been affected. The leadership lessons she learned as a central member of the golf team have helped her as a captain on the soccer squad.

“I got the chance to really lead last spring,” Bisaccia said. “I think that having the experience has helped me be better for the (soccer) team and other captains.”

Williams has noticed the leadership skills as well, noting that Bisaccia is the vocal leader of this year’s Redhawk program.

“She’s a tremendous leader,” Williams said. “She’s been wonderful. We have been such a young group, and she has been instrumental in helping them feel at home.”

Bisaccia will wrap up the Vermont high school golf season next week in the D-I state tournament match at Proctor-Pittsford. Then the senior will turn her attention back to soccer and pushing the Redhawks back into another state championship game.

“It’s definitely overwhelming,” Bisaccia said. “It’s my last chance both ways.”