Audrey Viso of St. Joseph's Academy won a lot of awards during her senior season. But it was easy for the Clemson signee to explain why the 2016-17 Gatorade Louisiana Girls Soccer Player of the Year award is the most significant.

“It’s the cherry on top,” Viso said. “This is the biggest award I’ve gotten and a great way to end my high school career.”

Viso is the first St. Joseph's Academy player to win the award given annually to the state’s top player. She is also the first Baton Rouge area winner since Baton Rouge High’s Emily Cancienne won it in 2009-10. A Monday news release on the award noted that it recognizes athletic excellence, high academic standards and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

As Louisiana’s winner, Viso is a finalist for the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in the days ahead.

SJA coach Stephanie Broussard said she told told the Gatorade selection committee to look beyond Viso’s modest offensive statistics of six goals and eight assists.

“Goals and assists don’t tell her story,” Broussard said. “Audrey controlled games from the center of the field. Whether it was by taking the ball away from another player or starting our offense by distributing the ball to teammates, she got it done. Our team was comfortable with her in those roles. Everything we did went through her.”

Viso led the Redstickers (16-7-3) to the Division I quarterfinals. She was voted the Division I Offensive Player of the Year, the Division I, District 3 MVP, All-Metro MVP for Divisions I-II and also was voted MVP of the LHSCA All-Star game.

Viso volunteers locally for Special Olympics events and also is involved in community-beautification projects. She maintained a weighted 4.05 grade-point-average.

“Audrey Viso is a talented and selfless player,” said Sheila Achee, coach of rival Baton Rouge High. “She’s always a threat on offense, but she’s also a beast defensively.”

As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Viso will select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Viso is eligible to obtain an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why her selected organization deserves additional support.

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