Carly Ozarowski kept her options open when she began considering college field hockey programs a few years back.
“I started thinking about it sophomore year and it became more concrete in my junior year,” said former Princeton Day School star defender Ozarowski, reflecting on her college search.
“I started going to the camps of the schools I was interested in. I looked at all of the NESCAC [New England Small College Athletic Conference] schools.”
But her search narrowed considerably when she met with Debbie Lavigne, the head coach at Connecticut College.
“I talked to Debbie and she asked me to come to their camp two days later,” recalled Ozarowski.
“I drove back up there again. I had a gut feeling; when I was there I had the sense that this was it. My brother told me that was the school I was talking about the most.”
Acting on that gut feeling, Ozarowski ended up going to Connecticut College and helped the Camels go 7-8 last fall in her freshman season.
As Ozarowski starts preseason this week for her sophomore campaign, she brings a comfort level to the process.
“It was a tough transition last year because I was coming in playing a fall sport,” said Ozarowski.
“That makes it more difficult; I couldn’t go to all of orientation. I was going to practice three times a day; I didn’t know where I was going on the first day of classes.”
All of that practice, though, paid off for Ozarowski when she made her debut for the Camels in a 4-0 win over East Connecticut State last October in a non-conference contest.
“That was exciting,” said Ozarowski, reflecting on her first college action. “I got to play most of the game and it really helped me figure out what I was doing out there. It helped with the NESCAC games that I played later.”
A key factor in doing well on the college level is getting up to speed with the opponents, according to Ozarowski.
“The first thing is that the game is extremely fast,” explained Ozarowski, who ended up making four appearances last fall. “I have to figure out how fast that forward is who is coming at me.”
In Ozarowski’s view, the Camels are ready to take a step forward this fall. “We just had a team camp and we were talking about this being a new year,” said Ozarowski, noting that the squad took part in the 4Goals camp in Wellesley, Mass. where it scrimmaged other New England college teams.
“We are ready to do some big things and go farther in NESCAC. Our team dynamic feels different this year. We are closer on the field. We prided ourselves on playing well in the second half of last year; this season we need to try hard from the first minute.”
Ozarowski, for her part, will be trying hard to be a more dynamic player for the Camels, who start their season on September 7 against Babson.
“I am so excited; I want to have more confidence on the field,” asserted Ozarowski, who will be facing former PDS teammate and current Babson freshman back Corinne Urisko in the opener.
“I want to be comfortable with playing defense and my position. I am working on my speed and defensive positioning and being better at containing the other players.”