By Kelsey Horton
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Women's lacrosse senior captain Maddie Carrellas (Middletown, R.I.) has a lot to be proud of. Off the field, she has earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll Accolades twice as an English major with a Premed concentration and is a member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy. On the field, she is part of the senior class that has competed in the Patriot League Tournament in two out of three seasons. Last year as a junior captain, Carrellas led her team to its fifth Patriot League championship game in program history, and was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team. In the 2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll, the Crusaders were predicted to come in second behind Navy, who have been the defending champion for the past three years. After a promising fall season, the Crusaders will be coming back in the spring with a vengeance, returning with 17 letterwinners and eight starters. For Carrellas and the other six seniors, this will not only be their last opportunity to win the Patriot League championship but will be the last season of their lacrosse careers.
Carrellas' career started 10 years ago when she started playing lacrosse for a club team in her home state, Rhode Island. She admitted that her older brother had started playing lacrosse before her and she loved doing whatever he was doing so she had to play too. Along with lacrosse, she played soccer and ice hockey in high school and debated whether she would play lacrosse or ice hockey in college. Being recruited by Holy Cross helped make her decision easier.
"I was somewhat familiar with Holy Cross because both of my grandfathers went here," said Carrellas. "When I found out that Holy Cross was recruiting me, I came to visit and immediately felt welcomed by the students as well as the girls who were already on the team. I knew that I would have an immediate group of friends and I could really picture myself being a part of the lacrosse program here."
Carrellas committed to Holy Cross and was not only just a part of the lacrosse program, but made an immediate impact as well. Her freshman year she played in all 17 games, starting in all but one of them. "Maddie is someone that any coach would love to have on their team," said Holy Cross head coach Stephanie Ridolfi. "She is a true team player and also an extremely likeable teammate and person. I can count on her to give everything she's got in practice and games and she never disappoints."
While her transition from high school to college lacrosse appears seamless, Carrellas reflected on how she has progressed over the last three years. "There is definitely a big difference between high school lacrosse and playing at the collegiate level and this is something that took me a while to get used to," said Carrellas. "Eight meters were no longer a guaranteed goal, defenders can physically push you to the ground and every person on the field is fast. I think that the biggest challenge for me was gaining confidence while I was on the field. As a freshman a lot of the time I was really worried about making mistakes, but now I have a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses."
In addition to her gained confidence on the field, Carrellas credits a lot of her success to the support she receives from her teammates. When she was elected as captain as a junior she recognized how big of a responsibility it was and wanted to prove that she had the ability to lead. She said, "If anything, being elected captain only made me work harder, because I wanted my teammates to believe in me as well as themselves." Coach Ridolfi positively remarked on Carrellas' ability to lead. "She has been a captain for two years now and has really worked on her leadership qualities," Ridolfi assessed. "She is improving every day because of her desire to help her team. We expect great things from her as we have in the past and we are confident that she will not let us down."
While Ridolfi boasts the two-time captain's leadership, Carrellas remains modest and credits others for her success. She attributes both her personal success and the team's achievements to the "camaraderie" she and her teammates share on an off the field, which she believes is their most valuable asset. "I have never met a group of girls that work together during practices, games, lifts, conditionings and then are still willing to spend hours together even outside of practice. I think that this has really contributed to our success as a team. We have a certain trust and confidence in each other, and I know that I have 27 other people who are working towards the same goal," Carrellas said.
Not only does she value the support of her teammates, but she is thankful for the other athletes at HC. "I think that one of the things I enjoy most at Holy Cross is watching my friends who play on other sports teams," said Carrellas. "It is great knowing that they share a similar experience to me, and I really enjoy watching them succeed as well."
While winning the Patriot League championship would be the ideal ending to her lacrosse career, Carrellas' personal goal for the season is to have no regrets. "I have had the privilege of doing something I love for the past three years and want to look back on each of my seasons knowing that I gave it my all."