Editor’s Note: Pete Schroeder sits down with Chase Carraro of Denver to talk about what it’s like coming from a non-traditional lacrosse area, and how well Denver is doing with players just like that!
Chase Carraro had a hat trick and won 14 out of 20 faceoffs in Denver’s 11-6 win over Ohio State. The Louisville, KY native was a two-time All-American at St. Xavier High School while leading the Tigers to two Kentucky state championships in 2008 & 2009.
Chase recently took some questions from LAS contributor Pete Schroeder, discussing the challenges in front of good high school players coming out of emerging areas & Denver’s excellent start this year.
What’s the typical reaction when someone finds out that you’re a lacrosse player from Kentucky?
Chase Carraro: One sentence could sum up so many interactions I have had in the past, “They play lacrosse in Kentucky?”
I know that your older brother, Casey, played lacrosse. Once you started playing, at what point did you start setting goals, like playing lacrosse in college?
Chase Carraro: My brother Casey was definitely a big influence on my goals. He was on one of the first high school teams to ever play in the KY and he definitely instilled a love for the game in me that has been with me ever since. I’d say around my freshman year of high school I began thinking about the idea of playing college lacrosse. At first I set goals that I wanted to just play lacrosse in college at any level, and then as I grew older those goals developed into playing D1 someday.
You played 2 sports in high school (football & lacrosse) – describe what you did to manage that & still get good grades while performing at a high level in both sports.
Chase Carraro: I’m the type of person who benefits from being on those sports schedules. Playing two sports helped me to become a better athlete and a better student for putting some order into my day to day schedule.
The Trinity/St X lacrosse game was last week (5/12/10 and Trinity won 8-6). Describe what it’s like to play in this rivalry game…
Chase Carraro: Nothing like it. No matter what the sport, the rivalry runs deep because you always have good friends on the other team. One year we got 4,000 people at a Kentucky state championship game because it was Trinity vs. St. X. That alone should speak for the rivalry because during that time the sport wasn’t even 10 years old in Louisville.
Here is a 1:00 highlight video from the 2009 T-X game, Chase is #23 in gold. Video by Bluegrass Video
Not coming from one of lacrosse’s traditional hotbeds, what experience in the recruiting process put you on coaches’ radar & helped you get the most recruiting exposure? What other important tasks were necessary to for you to be recruited?
Chase Carraro: Hitting the summer circuit is vital for any player who is not from a hotbed. Not only going to camps but also making sure you are going to the camps where the most coaches will be. I knew in high school there was going to be a good chance I would never garner a D1 college coaches attention to a regular season game because of my location. I feel like that made me a little more hungry when it came to the recruiting camps in the summer.
What made you choose Denver over other schools?
Chase Carraro: The chance to compete for a program that was going to have a shot at competing for a national championship. Denver as a city is pretty amazing as well and that helped push my decision. Also being from a generally flat part of the country, being able to look west and see those Rocky Mountains is still something that makes me thankful to be here every day.
What a view!
What advice would you give younger players about the recruiting process?
Chase Carraro: Stay persistent and be positive. You have to believe that you’re going to reach your goals because that’s the only way you’ll find the motivation to put in the work.
What should our younger readers of LAS know about playing high-major D1 lacrosse that they might not be considering as high school or middle school players?
Chase Carraro: It’s a big commitment. It’s definitely easy to feel a little worn out from the season/fall ball as a freshman but after that you get used to the schedule. Any Division I sport will test how much you really love the sport.
Based on your experience with good players from other areas of the country, what needs to happen in Louisville to increase the level of play here?
Chase Carraro: The youth programs have to keep picking up, as they are currently. The main reason other states have better abundances of talent is because they have many more kids involved in youth lacrosse from a young age. Once Louisville has high school seniors who have had a stick in their hands since they were five we will be able to compete with anybody because we have the athletes.
It seems like every TV clip of Coach Tierney shows him offering insight to the officials. You spend a lot of time with him, what can you tell us about Coach Tierney that we might not know?
Chase Carraro: Coach T is the type of coach who is going to fight for every inch for us on the field. That also translates to off the field where he always is there for us and has our backs on anything.
Your faceoff stats have improved since last season (48% 2010, 58% through 12 games 2011) – what’s driven that?
Chase Carraro: A year of experience helps but I also feel like the new faceoff rule has benefited me a lot. It makes the faceoff a little more about quickness and a little less about cheating. The “set call” rule makes it so both players are frozen in place for a second before the whistle, which makes it more about technique then timing up the refs whistle.
What do you do in the off-season? How much of your offseason program comes down from Denver, and how much of it is determined by you?
Chase Carraro: A lot of the lifting I do is determined by our weight-lifting coaches. As for lacrosse training that is pretty much left up to me. When I get home though I have my favorite place to play wall ball which I try to visit when I’m working out or just to mess around. I also like to shoot quite a bit because that can always improve. Other than that, I try to hit up a few men’s summer tournaments. This summer I will be playing at Vail which i am very excited for.
Denver is currently (at the time this interview was done) 10-2 & ranked 5th, what’s been the difference at Denver this year?
Chase Carraro: I think last year we didn’t have quite then identity that we have this year. I think what we did last year was pretty amazing for all the changes, especially for upperclassmen, that come with a new coach. This year we have a better sense of who we are and how good we can be.
I’m going to Baltimore for the Final Four this year; see you & your squad there?
I’m pretty superstitious about talking about that type of stuff before happens but just so you know, that’s the plan.
Here are a couple of vidoes that 412 Lax got of Chase Carraro at a Trilogy Lacrosse Camp giving the players a few tips!