Ex-Puma Bratsberg beats injury to contribute for Dominican University soccer team

By MICHAELCOIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A scoring machine over four seasons, Dominican University midfielder Julianna Bratsberg overcame a hip injury and helped lead the Penguins in the program’s move to NCAA Division II women’s soccer.

The former All-Empire player out of Maria Carrillo high capped a standout career with a spot on the Daktronics All-West Region Women's Soccer Second Team.

Nicknamed simply “G”— well suited for a two time goal scoring leader — Bratsberg was a force from the start. She was named to NAIA's California Pacific Conference all-league team and conference Freshman of the Year.

A hip injury led Bratsberg to sit out her sophomore season. Yet playing three more seasons allowed Bratsberg to lead the Penguins in her final campaign — the program’s first conference winning record.

“I learned through the struggle, and having the chance to play with this very special team this year has been one of my greatest experiences at Dominican,” she said.

Keeping the game simple helped Bratsberg make the seamless transition from high school to college soccer. Leading by example on the field, Bratsberg became a team captain.

Dominican’s senior-day finale against Point Loma was Bratsberg’s 68th for the Penguins. She scored 29 goals with 12 assists for 70 points over the four seasons, including twice leading in goals and once in scoring.

A highlight was scoring Dominican’s first goal in the team’s first win of the 2010 season following her redshirt year. Bratsberg added six more, earning first-team All-PacWest honors.

Bratsberg is a graduate student in occupational therapy, having completed her undergraduate studies in May. She would like to combine mission work with health care.

“The injury really taught me that there is a lot more to me than athletic ability,” Bratsberg said. “I’ve forged some really awesome relationships. To be so involved and be such a part of this has been such a blessing. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Note: Bratsberg is the latest in a long line of Empire players in standout roles for Dominican. Goalkeeper Megan Herring, from Montgomery High, leads NCAA Division II in saves percentage, and yielded only 11 scores in 15 games. Kendra Corsberg, out of Maria Carrillo, was an anchor on defense. Joining her on the back line was Kathryn Ripple, from Montgomery.

Dominican finished 2012 with an overall mark of 7-7-3 and 6-5-3 for seventh place out of 14 teams in PacWest play. Both marks were program bests since moving to the NCAA in 2009.