By Mike Corpos
ROCKVILLE — Sometimes the best things happen when you’re not even looking.
For Briana Scholtens, it was February when she landed a spot as a walk-on with Cal State East Bay’s women’s soccer team.
“I wasn’t even considering the school at first,” said the former Solano Community College goalkeeper. “I knew about them, but I didn’t think I would be able to play at a good (NCAA Division II) school.”
But a friend, former SCC forward Jessica Hamister, told Scholtens of a potential opening.
So Scholtens, a 2010 Rodriguez High graduate, went for a tryout.
“I took a tour of the school and I ended up really liking the area,” she said. “The coach offered me a spot right after session ended. So it worked out pretty well.”
Because she was a late recruit, Scholtens said there was no scholarship money available for the coming school year, but that she’ll be able to earn one for her senior year.
“The whole experience was a good experience but it was overwhelming,” she said. “It was overwhelming because California is one of the best soccer states to play in, and being able to play at a Division II in California, it’s very exciting for me and my family.”
That family is a talented one and it includes older brother John, a star baseball player at Rodriguez, and younger brother Jesse, the University of Arizona-bound right-hander who pitched the Mustangs to a Sac-Joaquin Section championship last month.
It’s been a bit of a winding road for Scholtens as she played through injuries in her time at Solano.
She also dealt with position switches.
“I played both on the field and as goalkeeper, and my first year I played on the field,” Scholtens said. “I had all intentions to grow as a field player. . . . In my second year at Solano we didn’t have a goalkeeper, so I had to step up and switch positions again.”
She did so with solid results, logging 36 saves in 680 minutes in the net with a goals against average of .7941.
“I hadn’t played in goal in over a year, so I had to get those skills back again,” Scholtens said. “We ended up doing really well. I put in a lot of work — I had to put in a ton of work.”
It paid off though, when the Falcons won their fifth straight Bay Valley Conference championship.
Scholtens also had a hand in winning the fourth in a row in 2010, when she scored four goals and dished out four assists.
Even though she didn’t expect to play at the Division II level, Scholtens said playing at the four-year level was always in the plans.
“It was a goal, I’ve always wanted to play. My dream since I was little was to be pro,” she said. “In order to get there I have to play at a four-year. That’s fantastic to be able to play at such a high level like that. I knew I had to work my butt off, so that was the goal when I first got to Solano.”
Planning to major in kinesiology, Scholtens said she hopes to become a trainer or physical therapist.
Before that, though, there’s plenty to be enjoyed at CSU East Bay.
“I’m looking forward to the different level, the pace of the game, and venturing out and experience new people and a new team,” Scholtens said. “The whole bonding thing with the team. I’m big with team bonding. I’m looking forward to having a very successful season with my new team that I’m about to play with.”