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Sports Person of the Week
Bisson Nets Major Accolades After Stellar Campaign
Emi Bisson supplied 65 goals and 22 assists en route to All-Shoreline Conference First Team and All-State Second Team honors for the Valley girls’ lacrosse team as a junior this season. (Photo courtesy of Emi Bisson)
Emi Bisson had a remarkable junior year with the Valley Regional girls’ lacrosse squad this spring. Following a lost 2020 season, the Warriors spent 2021 evaluating their talent, while trying to compete to the best of their ability, and Emi proved one of the team’s most valuable contributors.
Emi earned some end-of-season recognition for her outstanding performance as a junior. Emi, who played both attacker and midfielder, garnered All-Shoreline Conference First Team and All-State Second Team honors behind her 65 goals and 22 assists on the season. Emi’s 87 points in her 13 games played equated to 6.7 points per contest, marking the second-best total in the state. Emi feels great about what she achieved on the field this season.
“It was my first time getting All-State and All-Shoreline recognition. The biggest award I had before this season was my freshman year, when I was awarded the Co-Rookie Award alongside Margaret Jacaruso,” Emi says. “It was really cool being a part of that this year, especially after losing the season last year. I had wanted to set the goal to make one of those teams last year, so it was good to be able to accomplish that this year.”
While those accolades filled Emi with a sense of pride, she also had some noteworthy accomplishments away from the field during her junior year of high school.
“Something I’m really proud of is helping initiate a fundraiser for childhood mental health awareness. I’m proud of that,” says Emi, who also plays volleyball for Valley. “In volleyball, there’s ‘Dig Pink’ for breast cancer awareness, and I thought we could do something like that. Volleyball does pink, so we did green. We wore ribbons throughout the week and, on Senior Night, we wore green tie-dye for warmups. I was proud of being a part of that and hope we can do something like that for the rest of the seasons to come.”
This recent spring season was a challenge for many teams because of the nearly two-year layoff between the 2019 and 2021 campaigns. Emi notes that it was especially challenging for the Warriors since many of her teammates didn’t have a lot of lacrosse experience entering this year. Still, Emi believes that her squad has built a solid foundation for the future.
“In terms of wins and losses, it was pretty rough, but we had a lot of new players that had never played before. I’m proud of the determination we had, and we got closer as a team,” Emi says. “I know the new girls put in a lot of work to get better. There’s a lot of potential for next season. I think we did really well in terms of our team bonding and getting better as a whole, as well as individually.”
As her teammates were adjusting to their roles, Emi had to get acclimated to playing a new position this season. Historically, Emi had played attacker, but she moved to the midfield in order to be more available to contribute on both offense and defense as necessary. In the end, Emi returned to the attacker position as Valley gained more experience.
“I normally play attack. For Valley, at the beginning of the season, I played midfield and did draws. As the season went, I went back on attack. Olivia Cunningham eventually moved into the midfield and did the draws, and she did really well at that,” Emi says. “When I’m on attack, I’m looking for a lane and space where I can dodge past defenders. I ultimately want to get to the goal, but I look for open cutters who look like they have the ability to get to the goal themselves. I did that a lot with Salmi Miller. We had a good two-man game working. We accumulated a bunch of goals this season.”
Emi has been immersed in lacrosse for a long time since her family has a history with the sport. Emi grew up playing for the Ticks travel lacrosse team, and now she also plays for the Shoreline Sharks at the Premier level during the offseason. Emi’s father Joe coached her with the Ticks, and her brother Jackson just finished his career with Valley boys’ lacrosse this year.
“I got started around 1st grade. My dad was my coach all throughout my time playing club with the Ticks. He doesn’t coach them anymore, but he coaches the winter league for Valley. He’s kind of been my inspiration. He was a lacrosse player, too, and he loves the sport,” says Emi, who lives in Chester. “I think at the beginning, it was something that my dad wanted me to try, because he loved it so much and thought I might, too. At the beginning of each year, I was growing as a player. I began to love it more and more. Every time I play, I love it more.”
Emi’s family helped prevent her from getting rusty throughout the long offseason break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I missed the entire spring for Valley, but in July, luckily the Sharks started up again, and I attended a few tournaments. It finally gave me a sense of normalcy,” Emi says. “I also love running, so I would go for runs every morning during quarantine. It kept me going. I have a lot of lacrosse equipment at my house—sticks, goals, bounce backs, ladders. My brother and I played together to stay active with the stick.”
Valley Head Coach Randy Netsch appreciates everything that Emi brought to the Warriors this year. With so much uncertainty surrounding an inexperienced team, Emi was one of the true rocks of the Valley squad.
“Honestly, it is hard to describe what Emi means to our team. The best way to say it that Emi is Valley girls’ lacrosse. She is everything a coach wants in an athlete. She’s a hardworking team leader, listens to her coaches, and never stops improving her level of play. She has great insight into the game and is always looking for ways to help a fellow teammate if they are struggling,” says Netsch. “This year, Emi played most of the season as an attacker, but she is equally skilled in the midfield, taking the draw or in the defensive end. She was our most productive offensive player this year, often with two or three defenders on her at a time.”
As Emi looks to the future, she’s excited to see what the 2022 season brings as she prepares to pursue a collegiate career. Emi feels incredibly thankful for the support of her family, teammates, and coaches.
“I work with a college counselor. We narrowed down a list of schools. I’ve had some meetings with coaches and, overall, it’s going really well,” Emi says. “Without my family, I don’t know if I would have the drive that I have. They are extremely supportive. I don’t know where I would be without them. I am unbelievably grateful for all of my teammates, too. I’m playing for them, and I’m playing for my coach—not myself. I’m grateful for them, and I hope that they can see that.”