October 8, 2003

A Most Rewarding Relationship

Print More

Senior Carissa Mirasol had never touched a field hockey stick before eighth grade. Eight years, 48 career points, and two-consecutive All-Ivy first team selections later, Mirasol has proven herself to be one of the premiere players for the field hockey team. Wearing No. 2 for the Red, Mirasol’s explosive speed and ability to beat players one-on-one have earned her a spot among the top attackers in the Ivy League.

Mirasol owes her introduction to field hockey to her older sister Corinthia. “I’d thought sports were for boys. I didn’t think it was something I wanted to do, until my sister convinced me to try out for the high school field hockey team.”

With the encouragement and guidance of her older sister, Mirasol began a relationship with field hockey that would prove most rewarding. Playing for her high school in Fairfax, Va., she earned first-team All-Region and All-District honors in both her junior and senior years. It is especially fitting that one of Mirasol’s most memorable moments from her field hockey career at Cornell would come in last year’s match against the University of Virginia.

With the score knotted at 1-1 and only a few minutes left in the second overtime, Mirasol scored the winning goal to give the Red a 2-1 victory over then-nationally ranked Virginia.

“That win was a huge turning point in the season last year. Someone was on our side that game,” recalled Mirasol. “It was just an awesome feeling to knock them out in double overtime, and as an attacker, there’s nothing better than hearing the ball hit the back of the boards in the goal.”

That’s a sound Mirasol has a heard a lot during her time on the team. Earning playing time her freshman year, she made an immediate contribution to the offense with 10 points. She returned her sophomore year to lead the team in scoring, with 19 points, a performance good enough to earn her All-America honors for the year. She followed up her All-America performance with an equally-impressive 17-point showing her junior year.

“When I first started playing, I told my sister I don’t know what to do and she was like, you know what, just try and score,” recalled Mirasol. “So that’s really all I tried to do, but these past couple of years I’ve really tried to develop my game to become more of an all-around player.”

Yet Mirasol never expected the success she’s had on field, nor has she allowed her success to make her complacent.

“When I was a freshman I just thought I wasn’t going to play. My goal was to make the traveling team because I really didn’t want to stay at home.”

To her surprise, she earned several starts that freshman year, gaining valuable experience on the field.

“Since freshman year, she’s just improved every year and she always brings a positive attitude to field,” commented senior captain Kimmy Gardner. “She’s always thinking about the team.”

While Cornell’s 3-7 performance so far this season is not exactly what one would hope for a senior year, Mirasol continues to remain upbeat and positive. Citing last weekend’s road trip, during which the team lost to Princeton, 2-0, but beat Lehigh, 2-1, Mirasol sees great potential for the team.

“Our interim coach [Phil Sykes] is implementing a new system that we aren’t completely used to yet, but at Princeton we actually put it all together,” explained Mirasol. “It was probably one of the best performances against Princeton in the last four years that I’ve been here.”

In terms of next year’s team, Mirasol has high hopes for the future.

“I think if they keep up with this system, then I feel very comfortable that next year’s team will be very good,” she said.

As for her own time at Cornell, Mirasol, who will be graduating with a BA in psychology, had this to say: “I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love playing field hockey and my best friends are girls on the team.”

Archived article by Paul Testa