BERGEN — Part of a high-scoring quartet for Byron-Bergen this past fall and a five-year varsity starter that will go down as one of the top Bees players in recent history, senior Kelsey Fuller has her eyes set on the next phase of her career.

And Fuller will be hitting the big-time, hitting the field of Division I soccer.

After her stellar career at Byron-Bergen, Fuller recently committed to play top level soccer at Canisius College in Buffalo next season.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be heading into such a great soccer program and to meet all my new teammates,” Fuller said. “I am excited to start my classes and beginning to plan for my future. I know Canisius is the best fit for me and I can’t wait to start.”

A huge part of an always strong Bees program under head coach Wayne Hill for a half of a decade, Fuller finished her senior year with 14 goals and 29 assists, earning a Section V Player of the Year honor with it. Combined with other senior standouts Miriam Tardy, Julianna Amesbury and Melissa MacCowan, Fuller and that foursome combined to score 70 goals to go with 56 assists for a B-B team that finished a solid 15-3-1 in 2019.

The Bees earned the No. 2 seed in the Section V Class C1 tournament and advanced to the semifinals before they were upended by No. 3 Williamson 1-0 in overtime.

Over the last four seasons, Fuller has helped lead Byron-Bergen to a combined 52-16-1 mark.

“I am thankful for my time at Byron-Bergen and for the staff always pushing me to do my best,” Fuller said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I am grateful for all the opportunities that I have been given and I excited for what lies ahead.”

A second-team New York State Class C All-State selection this year and a four-year Genesee Region League all-star, Fuller finished her stellar career with 63 goals and 64 assists and three teams MVP awards.

Not just a one-sport star, Fuller was also a mainstay for four years for head coach Rick Krzewinski and the Byron-Bergen girls basketball team as well.

A versatile all-around threat, Fuller earned her first GR all-star selection on the hardwood this past season when she averaged 10.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for the 18-win Lady Bees.

Like the soccer team, however, the Bees saw their season come to an end in the Class C1 semifinals, though the hoops team was stunned by Cinderella 11-seed Letchworth.

Always willing to do whatever it took to win, as a junior Fuller averaged 11.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and two steals per game; as a sophomore it was 10.5 ppg., 6.5 apg., 5.5 rpg., and three steals per game, while as a freshman she averaged 5.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.9 rebounds per night.

“Kelsey Fuller is a fantastic young lady with a great head on her shoulders, Canisius is lucky to have her,” Byron-Bergen athletic director Rich Hannan said. “She is a coaches dream; an extremely hard worker and just wants to see her team succeed. It’s not that often that small schools in this area send kids to the D1 level to play team sports. She has worked hard and earned her way.

“Byron-Bergen is proud of her, I am proud of her,” Hannan added. “Best of luck and congratulations to Kelsey Fuller.” Off the B-B soccer field, Fuller has also been a member of the varsity softball team, Byron-Bergen Sting Soccer, WNY Flash Soccer, GV Pride AAU basketball, Varsity Club, Prom Committee and she is Senior Class Secretary.

Fuller plans to study business at Canisius College with a future goal of marketing beauty products worldwide and traveling to new places.

And for her, the choice to play Division I soccer and study at Canisius was a pretty simple decision.

“The sports atmosphere is just amazing and everyone I know has something good to say about the school,” Fuller said.”I have always wanted to play Division I and I couldn’t think of any better school to achieve my goal. The coaches were so welcoming and helped a lot with my decision.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be a Golden Griff and part of the Canisius Class of 2024,” Fuller added.

Fuller will join a Canisius program that was 7-8-2 last season, including 2-6-2 in the MAAC. The team will also be looking for a new head coach as Todd Clark stepped down to pursue other opportunities in early April.

The team is currently being led by interim coach Ryan Louis, a longtime assistant for the Golden Griffins.

“Kelsey is another player we identified through our ID clinic,” Louis said of Fuller. “She is a tireless worker in the midfield and can serve a ball in the run of play and restarts. She is strong, athletic and will be a physical presence in the midfield for us.”

Fuller will join other incoming freshman Sophia Chelini of Wayne High School; Tiani Fonoti of Layton, Utah; Marissa Gilmore of Cortland High School; Jessica Jones of Morgantown, WV; Lauren Reeves of Groton, NY; Maya Palmer of Williamsville, NY; and Madeline Tulloch of Newark High School.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1