Golden Valley's Callister Sun-Star All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year

slynch@mercedsunstar.comJune 22, 2013 

BEA AHBECK CASSON/bahbeck@mercedsunstar.com Golden Valley's Sara Callister is the Sun-Star's All Area Soccer Player of the Year. Photographed in Merced Friday. (6-7-13)

Speed can be fleeting.

Kids that look like a blur out on the field as 6- and 7-year-olds often get caught or surpassed by their peers by the time high school comes around.

Sara Callister is the exception.

Quicker than just about everyone else since she first graced a soccer field at the age of 6, the Golden Valley senior just seems to be getting faster with each passing year.

Not even a major knee injury could slow down the Sun-Star All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

After missing the entire 2012 high school season with a torn knee ligament, Callister feared the playing field might finally have been leveled.

"I was really concerned that I might not be able to get back to the player that I was," Callister said. "I did the physical therapy and then went to the gym and tried to strengthen it with weight lifting.

"There was a few times when I got back on the field and I wasn't doing very well that I wondered if it was all worth it."

If you asked her Golden Valley teammates that question, they would answer an emphatic "yes."

Callister led Golden Valley with 20 goals and 19 assists. The senior helped lead the team to its first ever share of the Central California Conference title and was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year.

"I think she's going to do very well at the next level," Cougars head coach Lee Shaw said. "She just has that speed and aggression that college coaches look for.

"You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don't have that aggression at the next level, you're just going to be pushed off of the ball.

"She's a tireless worker and just a team-oriented kid. There's a number of times where girls might have tapped in goals that had already crossed the line, and she's so humble so she just let her teammates have them."

Often the focal point of opposing defenses, Callister routinely had a shadow. There were two or three in CCC play. But her speed proved a universal advantage.

If given a bit of space and a head of steam, Callister would regularly leave defenders in her wake on 40- and 50-yard sprints.

She was equally adept at setting up her teammates, breaking down a defense and then laying balls across the goal mouth for easy tap-ins.

"It took a little while before I really felt back to myself," Callister said. "It was probably that Merced game where I was finally fully back. That was the first league game I scored in.

"There were times where I was really frustrated when I was first coming back in the fall, but it turned into a really good year."

Sun-Star All-Area Girls Soccer Team

Taylor Briggs GK Buhach Colony

Jessika Mclesky GK Merced Yesenia Gonzalez Def Atwater

Danielle Vigil Def Golden Valley Melissa Lopez Def Atwater

Alyssa Pomicpic Def Buhach Colony Brittany Cervantes Mid Golden Valley

Brianna Perez Mid Atwater Jaimee Rocha Mid Hilmar

Jetta Saeteurn Mid Merced Kinsey Pettigrew Mid Hilmar

Nancy Fuentes Mid Atwater Sara Callister Fwd Golden Valley

Alex Eber Fwd Golden Valley Sadie Montague Fwd Buhach Colony

Alyssa Ruiz Fwd Atwater Oliviah Gemperle Fwd Hilmar

Madalyn Adams Fwd Gustine

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