NSS: Kentucky's Carraro Adjusts to Spotlight
by Paul Ohanian | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
|Chase Carraro, a standout midfielder from Kentucky, will play at the University of Denver for new coach Bill Tierney in the fall.|
Don't tell Chase Carraro that lacrosse doesn't get much
attention in Kentucky. The senior midfielder at Louisville's St.
Xavier High School has had all that he can stand for the past two
Some of it, no doubt, has been good -- like All-America honors, invitations to national camps and scholarship offers from Division I schools. Carraro joins many of the nation's other elite seniors this weekend as a member of the West team at the US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase in Smithfield, R.I.
But some of the attention on Carraro, frankly, has just been frustrating.
"He's been a marked man," said Scott Howe, Carraro's coach at St. X.
As the best player in the state, Carraro has been the primary focus for virtually every opponent. He always draws the pole, and routinely gets faced guarded and shut off. It's been a learning experience for the four-year varsity standout.
"I wasn't used to the all-out shut down, so this was a tougher season," said Carraro, who still helped lead his team to a second straight Kentucky championship. "I became more of a patient player and let things come to me a bit more."
For a player with Carraro's speed and abilities, that takes some discipline. He's an elusive dodger who likes to create, and has the skills to shoot on the move with either hand. Waiting for the game to come to him, or playing on the crease while others dodge, has been a bit unnatural.
"It's like telling Secretariat not to run," said Howe, from the midst of horse country.
Fortunately, Carraro is also a talented faceoff specialist who was able to impact the game from that dimension. He won over 70 percent of his attempts, and routinely caught defenders and goalies flat-footed with quick goals off the draw.
"He dominated the position in the state and fared very well against out-of-state competition as well," said Howe. "He's extremely strong and doesn't back down. Nobody pushes him around."
Toughness is a quality that Carraro had to develop at an early age as the youngest of six children in a very athletic family. Four of his siblings played Division I or II athletics in college. They didn't think twice about pushing around the youngest member of the clan.
"I got picked on by my older brothers," admitted Carraro. "I had to take on that 'don't-back-down' attitude."
He'll now carry that attitude with him to the University of Denver, where he joins a Pioneers' program that has gotten a lot of attention itself in recent weeks. Like many others, he was caught off guard by the hiring of Bill Tierney.
"I was a little uneasy when Coach [Jamie] Munro left because I was very comfortable with him," said Carraro. "But now I'm pretty excited to play for Coach Tierney. I'm excited about where he could take the program."
Carraro has yet to hear from the new coaching staff, but is still working hard this summer in hopes of making an immediate impact as a freshman at Denver.
"He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen," said Howe. "Most days after practice, I had to drag him off the field. He eats up the game. He's a coaches' dream."
Opportunities like this weekend's NSS event, as well as the Gait Cup Tournament and Nike Blue Chip Camp that he has attended in past summers, also give Carraro a chance to test his game against the highest caliber of lacrosse.
"I love playing against players from other areas," he said. "Kids don't think I can play because I'm from Kentucky."
And no doubt, he quickly gets their attention.
The 2009 US Lacrosse National Senior Showcase -- an all-star event featuring the nation's top high school boys' lacrosse seniors representing North, South, East and West regions -- is this weekend at Bryant University in Providence, R.I. Check back to LMO for coverage all week and from the event.
* Austin Wright, Worthington Kilbourne (Ohio), North All-Star
* Mike McCormack, West Islip (N.Y.), East All-Star
* Event Home Page
* NSS Rosters
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