"I think she's the best goalkeeper in the Big West (Conference), but the big thing about her is she really adds to our attack," head coach Alex Crozier said of junior goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti. | Joseph Peck/Mustang News

Rafael Salinas
[follow id = “ROCSalinass”]

Of all things valued in sports, consistency is often underrated.

Whether it be in football, baseball, soccer or basketball, there is something to be said for guaranteed performance week in and week out.

Alyssa Giannetti, the Cal Poly women’s soccer team’s starting goalkeeper, is a pillar of consistency. There’s a word sports analysts and fantasy sports gurus use for players who deliver studly performances such as hers: elite.

Through three full seasons at Cal Poly in which she hasn’t missed a single game, Giannetti has given her team 262 saves, including 123 saves in her sophomore campaign — currently the program’s single-season record. The junior goalkeeper seems poised to own not just that record but also one for most career saves, sitting at 307.

In addition, her career save percentage is .767 — good enough for eighth all time — and it seems sure to go up following this season. This year, Giannetti has amassed 54 saves while enjoying a .764 save percentage. Those marks place first and third in the Big West Conference, respectively.

“I don’t think about it, it doesn’t mean much to me,” Giannetti said. “I just go into games and try and do my job to help my team get the W.”

However, there was one caveat to her humility.

“I feel blessed to be here with the opportunity to put my name out,” she said. “If my name ends up No. 1 this year or next year then great. I come out here leaving a little memory at Cal Poly.”

Giannetti has an easygoing demeanor. When speaking with her, you’d never guess she’d call herself or her position “tenacious” or “wild.” But she says those are qualities a goalkeeper must have to be successful. Giannetti credits her upbringing under the sunny skies of Huntington Beach, California, as an integral part of her success.

“In high school I played softball and volleyball as well,” she said. “Since I was little I played every sport from basketball to riding BMX bikes. It helped me transition into a goalie because I was kinda wild and throwing my body all over the place anyways.”

Head coach Alex Crozier said he is grateful for Giannetti’s strong, consistent play.

“I think she’s the best goalkeeper in the Big West, but the big thing about her is she really adds to our attack. She can hit a player 40 yards away or 10 yards away with her punts,”  Crozier said.

Her teammates and coach have seen Giannetti commanding, organizing and distributing from the back line every game since she’s been on the team.

“She was very good coming into Cal Poly, but she has developed into a team leader,” Crozier said. She’s great for the chemistry, she’s a positive person. But she’s also saved our butts at times.”

Giannetti’s team saw her through the injuries and scary moments that plague all athletes willing to put their bodies on the line. Giannetti described one such moment as her scariest at Cal Poly.

It occurred 10 minutes into her first start as a Division I soccer player.

“There was a breakaway and I came out sliding, I make the save and I had the ball in my hands,” Giannetti said. “The girl must have been following through. I don’t really know what she was doing, but she kicked me straight in the face. I was in shock, dizzy and my nose was bleeding. It was kind of a good thing though because it was like a wake-up call to college soccer.”

Giannetti’s story stresses two important points: One, ouch. Two, she stayed in the game.

A cleat to the face wasn’t the last of Giannetti’s game-time hardships — she has since collected two concussions and two hip surgeries. Even so, she has managed to play every game in her Cal Poly soccer career.

Giannetti’s description of her soccer injuries fit her personality, even if the injuries didn’t.

“I tore my labrum in my hips,” Giannetti said. “It’s just the cartilage in your hips that tear from overuse.”

Yeah, it’s just the cartilage in your hips. No biggie for a goalkeeper who has to use hip muscles to both leap and land, all the while bracing for impact. But that seems to be her story: Perform regardless of the circumstance and perform with consistent quality.

“A huge part of being a goalkeeper is the consistency aspect,” Giannetti said. “Practices can get repetitive, dive after dive, because you really only get one shot. There’s no room for error.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *