Of all the facts surrounding Carolyn Carrera’s rookie season as a professional lacrosse player with the Philadelphia Force, here’s an interesting nugget: Not once this summer has she stepped foot in the city of brotherly love.
Oh, and here’s another interesting tidbit that’s not too bad: She’s a league champion.
Carrera, a Jamesport resident, had played for Riverhead High School and Stony Brook University before being drafted by the Force in the ninth round as the 34th pick overall in the United Women’s Lacrosse League’s College Draft. Her first professional season ended in triumph Saturday night as the Force defeated the Boston Storm, 13-7, in the championship game at Harvard Stadium.
“It was amazing,” Carrera, a defender who also handled draws, said after the Force secured their first league title. “I think we played great. I think all around, one of the biggest things with our team is, from top to bottom, we have the scrappiest, grittiest players … It turned into something incredible.”
Carrera had scored her first and only professional goal in a semifinal win over the Long Island Sound on July 30 in Lake Placid.
In all, the Force played six games this summer in the third-year league. The team never practiced or played in Philadelphia, as games for the league’s four teams, including the Baltimore Ride, were held at the same sites in an effort to drum up interest in the league. Because there wasn’t enough funding for practices, Carrera said, the team used video sessions to go over plays and review scouting reports.
Carrera said she was impressed with how the league was run and enjoyed the brand of lacrosse that was played. Compared to the college game, she said, it’s faster and more physical.
From the first game, Carrera was designated as the Force’s primary draw person. She had taken some draws while at Stony Brook, and enjoys them. “It’s a lot of fun because the ball’s going up and you got to be as scrappy as possible and get it at all costs,” she said.
Force coach Mike Bedford had known Carrera at Hofstra University, where he was an assistant coach while Carrera began her college career before transferring to Stony Brook.
“Picking her up for Philly was kind of a no-brainer,” he said. “She was one of my favorite players.
“She is everything that you would want in any of your players. She is committed. She works her butt off. She’s a fantastic player and an even better human.”
Carrera was joined on the team by two other former Stony Brook players — defender Brook Gubitosi and midfielder Sam DiSalvo.
“It was great to be able to do it with such great girls,” Carrera said. “These girls are incredible. They are so talented. I just love being around people who have that work ethic and that diehard mentality. It’s just so fun to play with people like that.”
Carrera said she would like to play in the league again next season and have a chance to help the Force defend their league title.
“It’s pretty crazy to say that, yeah, you’re playing professional lacrosse,” she said. “It’s awesome … If the opportunity presents itself, I definitely want to be a part of this again and keep pursuing it.”
Photo caption: Carolyn Carrera of Jamesport holds the United Women’s Lacrosse League trophy she helped the Philadelphia Force win Saturday night. (Credit: courtesy photo)