Carissa Citro was supposed to be a member of the cross country team at SUNY New Paltz, but chose to play lacrosse instead.
Citro first started playing lacrosse in fourth grade and continued throughout her time at Miller Place High School on the north shore of Long Island. Playing travel lacrosse was also part of her routine. Despite running for the 2011 New Paltz Hawks cross country team, she did not want to give up lacrosse because she had such a love for the game.
“When I was younger, I used to have catches with my dad and my sister,” Citro said. “I started playing with Comsewogue. Miller Place didn’t have a program. My mom started a program in our school for the younger ages, so then I just started playing.”
At Miller Place, she was awarded All-League (2007-08, 10), All-Division (2007-10) and Women’s lacrosse All-Division (2010-11).
Her sister Danielle, who is two years older, played lacrosse at SUNY Oswego. The Citro sisters matched up against each other twice on the field during Carissa’s first and second years as a Hawk. Carissa’s team took the 21-20 victory on April 17, 2012 in their first matchup. Carissa scored four goals and Danielle added two for Oswego.
In her first year as a Hawk, Citro started in all 17 games. She finished second on the team in goals (34), ground balls (47) and draw controls (48).
Hawks Head Coach Liz Student took the reigns at the helm of the program when Citro began her collegiate lacrosse career in 2012. Student said from the moment she saw Citro run down the field, she knew that she would be one of the best players in program history.
“She’ s a very special individual that we will all miss,” Student said. “She mentored younger players and was always there for everybody. Carissa would be the person that can tell when someone’s down and just say something positive to them. She was all in it for the team. She’s one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met and will give anything to anybody and really worked hard to make everybody around her look good.”
The following year, Citro was named Second-Team All-SUNYAC and a SUNYAC All-Academic Team member. During the season, she led the team in caused turnovers (16) and tied for second on the squad in draw controls (32) and assists (12).
In her junior year, Citro began her tenure as a co-Captain of the Hawks and held that title for two years. The same year, she was named to the Second-Team All-SUNYAC yet again. This time, she was granted SUNYAC Commissioner’s List and All-Academic Team member honors. In order to receive this honor, a student-athlete must complete the season as a varsity athlete and must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 for at least three semesters at the college. The All-Academic Team honors varsity athletes who have earned a minimum 3.3 grade point average for the semester in which they competed.
Student said Citro put in 100 percent effort, 100 percent of the time, regardless of what she’s doing.
“When you watch her play, you can see that passion,” Student said. “You can see that regardless of what’s going on around her, she wants the ball, she wants to score, she wants to get the ball back. She plays with extreme passion. In our conference, she’s one of those players that everybody wants on their team. Within our conference, we have very good teams, but everybody would want Carissa on their team. She makes everybody around her look really good.”
Citro’s favorite moment as a Hawk came during her third year in the April 1, 2014 game against SUNY Potsdam. The Hawks were down 10-3 with 27 minutes remaining in the second half and mounted a comeback. With 33 seconds remaining in the game, the Hawks tied it up and forced a six-minute overtime. Citro netted the game-winner for her team on home turf as the Hawks beat the Bears 15-14.
To cap off her Hawks career, Citro was named to the 2015 All-State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Women’s Lacrosse Third Team, marking her third All-SUNYAC honor. Citro is the Hawks’ first multiple-time All-Conference honoree. During the 2015 season and her fourth year, she led the team in points (40) and draw controls (51) while ranking second in assists (12) and tying for second in caused turnovers (11).
She finishes her career ranked among the top four in every position player statistical category for the Hawks. The attacker ranks second in assists (57), second in draw controls (179), third in ground balls (137), third in caused turnovers (69) and fourth in goals (109).
This season she became the program’s fourth student-athlete to surpass the 100-goal milestone during the April 16 game against Mount Saint Mary College. During the game, she scored a program-record-tying seven goals. Citro said hitting the milestone was exciting and was unaware how many goals she needed to hit the century mark.
“That was really exciting,” Citro said. “I actually didn’t know that I needed only two more to hit it. It was fun and I didn’t think I would have that many.”
Citro was a communication disorders major during her time at New Paltz. This fall, she will attend graduate school at the University of Buffalo to study audiology for her doctorate.
Off the field, Citro, along with Student, attended a Chi Alpha Sigma luncheon in April, a National College Athlete Honor Society — an event for the athletes with the highest GPA.
“The professors have nothing but kind words to say about her,” Student said. “To hear her professors talk about her, it was very refreshing, because all of the same things that I see on the field, they were saying about her work ethic and her teamwork in the classroom. It was great to hear that reiterated. She really is a very special individual and New Paltz was very lucky to have her as a student athlete.”