(ANUSHA MOOKHERJEE / THE STATESMAN)
Seawolves goalkeeper Ashley Castanio kicks the ball away from the net. (ANUSHA MOOKHERJEE / THE STATESMAN)

Ashley Castanio does not mind the pressure of being a goalkeeper. “I like the pressure,” she said. “I’m not really sure why I chose it though. I hated being put in goal when I was younger.” That hatred eventually turned to love and into a successful college career for the girl from nearby Oceanside, NY on Long Island.

There were not many other schools in the mix when it came to decision time. “Lehigh and Central Connecticut State University were two others. I verbally committed to CCSU, then decommitted and came here,” Castanio said.

When she came here, the multi-sport high school athlete already had prior knee trouble. She tore her ACL in her senior year playing basketball, which ended her career. “I miss basketball. I looked at a couple Division II schools to play both but it’d be too hard on my body,” she said. The knee trouble continued in her second game against Fordham. “I came out, bent down, then stood up and my cleat got stuck in the turf,” she said. She was, however, granted a medical redshirt that year so she did not use a year of eligibility and will have one more after this season concludes.

“I’m a big family person, and since I live in Nassau county this was nice. If they were sending me to school they at least had to come to my games,” Castanio said. Her family does not just go to the games though. “They’d paint their number on them, they flew to Colorado,” she said. She is the baby of the family as the youngest of four children, but has the upper hand when it comes to athletics. “My one sister played college soccer, but at Division III. It’s kind of the joke in my family that I put everyone to shame.”

Advertisement

Coming into this season, Castanio and the Seawolves were picked to finish second in the America East Conference behind fellow 2012 finalist Hartford. “We’re the target being the defending champs in every game we play. But I didn’t want that top preseason ranking,” she said. “They don’t think we’re good enough to win again.”

Castanio shined in the tournament saving eighteen shots, including one critical penalty kick against New Hampshire in the quarterfinal, which could have turned things around. The sixth seeded Seawolves would win the tournament with a 1-0 upset victory over top-seeded Hartford. “Winning the America East for my first season playing is my proudest achievement on the field. I’d do it the same way all over again,” she said, “They think we got lucky.”

Then came the first NCAA Division I tournament game in the history of Women’s Soccer at Stony Brook University. They took on #9, Maryland, and were on a level playing field. The upset alert was on for eighty-five minutes. “This game was very nerve-wracking. But when you’re playing a better team, you’re going to up your level of play,” she said. And Castanio certainly did. She finished with nine saves on the night. “My goalkeeper coach and I knew I was going to have a great game,” she said, “It’s fun for a goalkeeper to play against a great team.”

This year is going to be different for these Seawolves, and Castanio will be at the head of it all being a wall in the net. “My expectations are to win the America East tournament again and get to the second round of the NCAA Tournament,” she said. “By the time we got to Maryland last year we were shot.” She also said the training last year was targeted to winning the America East, so that game was not as well prepared for as it could have been.

Advertisement

Off the field, she said she would most likely want to meet Albert Einstein. “I don’t even know why I picked that,” she said laughing, “I was on my way out the door and my mom said ‘you have to finish this survey!’ so that was the first name I thought of.” She also informed me she is a math major. With two years left, she looks forward to being a role model to younger girls. The pressure is on to succeed, but as she has done before, she will come through.

Avatar

Hailing from Rochester, NY, Cameron is the Sports Editor. During his freshman year as a staff writer, he covered the Women's Soccer team, along with softball in the spring. His sophomore year saw bigger sports coverage, as he took on football and baseball. Cameron is a big sports fan, ranging from football to golf, and everything in between. Contact Cameron at: [email protected]

Tagged:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.