Carolyn Carrera has gone through a transition and a half during her freshman year at Hofstra University.
A former standout four-year starter and goal-scoring threat for the Riverhead High School girls lacrosse team, Carrera has seen playing time as a defensive midfielder.
“It’s incredible here. I love it,” she said after Hofstra dropped a 13-9 home decision to Johns Hopkins on Saturday. “Before I was a midfielder and going up and down the field. Now I’m a defensive middie. So now I don’t see the offensive side. I am just so grateful to be playing, helping the team, to be giving them any kind of whatever kind of talent, just by giving them any kind of help.”
A two-time winner of The Riverhead News-Review’s female athlete of the year award and the 2013 New York State Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winner, Carrera knows that her time will come to play both ways as a midfielder for the Pride.
“I just do like the defensive side, just to be able to be scrappy and come up with it, and come up with those saves and stuff,” she said.
Carrera certainly knows about saves and being scrappy. For the Blue Waves, she was a standout soccer goalkeeper and a defensive-minded basketball player.
Needless to say, her first-year at the Hempstead school has been a learning experience.
“I learned that even more so now that you’ve got to be strong through adversity,” Carrera said, adding that that was “something that I’ve really been trying to work on, whatever it is, with soccer, not playing at all, working my way up playing in lacrosse, school work or anything. … Honestly, I’m grateful for it. It has made me stronger.”
Carrera had to overcome some adversity 2 minutes 51 seconds into the game when a Johns Hopkins player whacked her on her nose. She was forced to the sidelines at Shuart Stadium while a team doctor worked on her bloody nose for several minutes. Carrera returned to the game at 8:45 of the first half although she needed an undetermined amount of stitches after the game.
“I’m all right,” she said with a smile. “It’s just a tough loss. I have to get stitches. They shot and it should have been a dangerous foul and it wasn’t.”
In contrast to lacrosse, Carrera did not play a minute as a soccer goalkeeper on a team that reached the Colonial Athletic Association final. Still, that did not change how much Carrera loved to be around her team, teammates and coaches.
“It was how incredible the team was,” she said. “It was incredible to have so much training and coaching. I am ecstatic with how much I know I have improved. I am just ready to work at it, get better over the summer and start next fall as well. Yeah, it’s a bummer not to play, but I love the team. We had some great games. It was an incredible experience.”
When she isn’t trying to trying to make life miserable for opposing offenses, Carrera is hitting the books as a civil engineering major on the academic side. Carrera said she was doing well in her first year and sounded enthusiastic about her academic pursuits.
“Definitely a tough workload, but it’s good,” she said.
“I love math and science. I am strong with them. That’s what my dad does and he has been constantly pushing me in that direction. I have seen the benefits of it and how much I just love to be at job sites outside in the world, working with people and physically doing surveys.”
That is when she isn’t surveying the lacrosse field to figure out how to stop the opposition.