In the seven year history of the Times All-North girls lacrosse team, the Most Valuable Player has accumulated prodigious offensive statistics, making a difference in front of the net by scoring numerous goals and assists.
However, Immaculate Heart Central senior goalie Victoria Fusco has proven that a defensive player can make a difference in front of the cage for a different reason.
Fusco is the Times All-North girls lacrosse MVP for her stellar season that led the Cavaliers to a 15-3 overall record, along with their first Frontier League title and a berth in the Section 3 Class C semifinals.
She made 195 saves and recorded a save percentage of .600 as she helped IHC to its best season ever. Fusco also received All-America honors from U.S. Lacrosse for the Upstate New York region.
With all of the noticeable offensive talent in the league, Fusco stood out, even if her selection to her off-guard.
“I was surprised,” Fusco said. “Having such great offensive players in the Frontier League, it’s awesome to be acknowledged as a goalie.”
But her coach, John Connolly, was not surprised.
“She is deserving of everything she gets,” Connolly said. “She really is the difference-maker.”
Instead, Connolly is surprised about something else when talking about Fusco’s game.
“I’m more surprised when she gives up a goal,” he said.
Fusco has also received praise from other coaches in the league as a result of her stellar play.
“She’s the best goalie in north country,” said South Jefferson head coach Jennifer Williams. “She’s a great communicator that knows the game from inside out.”
The three-year starter noted that she has worked on her game to be one of the best goalies in the entire section.
“I have improved on my low shots,” Fusco said. “Being a taller goalie, it’s hard to get low to the ground. But working on it all summer I feel like it’s my strongest point in the season.”
Her coach has also noted improvements in other areas of her game.
“Mentally, she’s become stronger,” Connolly said. “She’s learned to control her emotions. She takes it one save and shot at a time.”
Fusco presence also helped the Cavaliers win the close games. IHC went 5-1 in games decided by a goal.
“We finally started winning those one-goal games,” Fusco said. “We always knew we could, and we finally stepped up with our senior leadership.”
Fusco plans to attend perennial NJCAA Division III power Monroe Community College in the fall. While she has earned plenty of honors in her high school career, she believes that she can continue to work on her game in preparation for next season with the Tribunes.
“I can definitely work on my quickness and work on my clears,” she said. “I had a few bad clears in important parts of the game.”
Fusco is already trying to pass along her knowledge and skills to the next generation of lacrosse goalies. She is working with the Different Road Patriots lacrosse club.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “Those goalies are in second grade and it’s awesome that they’re starting at such a young age.”
Fusco said she eventually wants to become a lacrosse coach.