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Women’s Lacrosse: Riverhead grad drafted by pro team

Oh, the joy.

Carolyn Carrera can find it just about anywhere.

That’s Carrera’s philosophic approach to life — to find joy in everything, from her deeply held Catholic faith to her position as a lacrosse defender to her love of the sport.

As if to underscore that, one will notice a photo of Carrera playing for Stony Brook University with the word “JOY” — apparently written in black marker — spelled out just under her right wrist.

Try to find the joy in every moment. That’s her motto.

It was easy for Carrera to find joy in the moment last Wednesday night when the Riverhead woman received a text message from Stony Brook coach Joe Spallina, informing her that she had just been drafted in the United Women’s Lacrosse League’s College Draft. The Philadelphia Force selected Carrera in the ninth round with the 34th pick overall.

“It was just like, ‘What?’ ” Carrera said. “I was absolutely shocked.”

Stony Brook was the most represented program in the draft. Carrera is one of seven players from America East Conference champion Stony Brook to be chosen. Two of the senior’s Stony Brook teammates were also drafted by the Force. Defender Brooke Gubitosi was a third-round pick and midfielder Sam DiSalvo went in the fifth round.

Stony Brook attack Kylie Ohlmiller was the first overall pick, selected by the Boston Storm. The other Seawolves drafted were attack Courtney Murphy by the Long Island Sound in the ninth round, defender/midfielder Tiffany Zullo by the Sound in the 15th round and midfielder Emma Schait by the Baltimore Ride in the 18th round.

“Honestly, I’m so grateful,” Carrera said. “This is truly a blessing, something I couldn’t have dreamt of. I’m so grateful to God for it.”

Carrera started all 22 games last season for Stony Brook, picking up 24 ground balls with 17 draw controls and 15 caused turnovers. She was one of seven Seawolves named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association’s academic honor roll.

Carrera was a standout at Riverhead High School, where she lettered in lacrosse, soccer, basketball and track and field. She was the 2013 New York State Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winner, was named to the Brine High School All-America Team as a junior and senior and was a two-time recipient of the Riverhead News-Review’s Athlete of the Year award. In 58 lacrosse games for Riverhead, she totaled 173 goals, 69 assists and 386 draw controls.

Carrera spent her first two college years at Hofstra, where she started in all 33 games over two years, recording two goals, 31 ground balls, 66 draw controls and 17 caused turnovers. (She also played soccer for the Pride as a goalkeeper).

Carrera said she has been happy with her transfer to Stony Brook. “God led me here,” she said. “I truly feel like I was meant to be here. Everything lined up for me perfectly to be here and it’s been an absolute blessing.”

Carrera was a midfielder in high school and a defensive middie at Hofstra before being moved to a defender at Stony Brook. “I actually love it,” she said.

The professional women’s lacrosse league is headed toward its third season.

“There are a lot of incredible players competing in the college ranks and we’re thrilled to give them the opportunity to play the game they love at the professional level,” the league’s general manager, Kristan Ash, said in a press release. “We have a lot to offer them, both on and off the field.”

Carrera, whose brother Mario played lacrosse for Riverhead and St. John’s University, called her opportunity to play lacrosse beyond college a gift.

“To be able to do this is a blessing that few people could even dream of,” she said. “It could be gone in an instant.”

One thing that hasn’t dissipated is Carrera’s love for the sport.

“It has grown,” she said. “To be totally honest, that’s from God. That’s my journey with God.”

It looks as if the joy and the journey for Carrera will continue beyond her college graduation.

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Photo caption: Stony Brook defender Carolyn Carrera was drafted by the Philadelphia Force of the United Women’s Lacrosse League. (Credit: Stony Brook Athletics)