Moving to a place where lacrosse is king gave St. Charles East alum Cam Caruso a jolt three years ago.
As he prepares to travel to Babson (Mass.) College for his final collegiate season, Caruso knows that’s a vibe he may have to bottle up.
“I would like to say I’m talented enough to play professionally. I don’t know if that’s true or not,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but every year you see guys go and that’s the last time they have the game in their hearts. Right now, that’s looking like the route I’ll be taking.
“I guess I’ll just have to be a men’s league hero.”
Starring for the Beavers has been fulfilling enough for now. Last season, Caruso earned All-Conference honors in the NCAA Division III Pilgrim League, establishing career highs in goals (22) and assists (15) in 18 games in the Babson midfield.
Caruso contributed 22 goals and six assists in 31 games as a freshman and sophomore, giving the breakout an even stronger feel.
He wasn’t exactly the biggest man on the Babson campus, southwest of Boston, but playing for an up-and-coming lacrosse team offered plenty of notoriety. More than he enjoyed in the St. Charles, anyway.
“Football’s not big in the northeast. Neither is basketball, really,” Caruso said. “It’s kind of a whole new wavelength of sports, being from the midwest. Lacrosse is headline news. It dominates. I knew that before, but until you’ve actually gotten out there and (live) it, the feeling doesn’t completely kick in.”
Babson hopes to generate even more buzz in the spring. The Beavers finished 10-8 last season and advanced to the Pilgrim League Tournament title game for the first time since 2001. The team has earned 11 straight Pilgrim League Tournament berths.
In addition, Babson’s MacDowell Field will be renovated with a new synthetic turf surface for the coming season.
The Badgers traditionally play a tough schedule, which in 2011 included eventual Division III national champion Tufts. Caruso scored the opening goal just 1:32 into the game. Babson played to within a goal of Tufts before two goals in the final 42 seconds of the first half ignited the Jumbos’ rally to a 15-6 win.
“When I got here, we had a program that was recovering and not too strong, but in the last two years we’ve been on the rise,” Caruso said, “Me, too. When you play the best in the country, you’re going to get better, and we definitely have.”
Good enough to go pro? Stay tuned.
Backfield in motion: Geneva football coach Rob Wicinski has grown accustomed to the reality that running the ball could be a spread-the-wealth kind of thing this fall.
Recent backfields featured bona fide bruisers such as Michael Ratay, Michael Santacaterina and Connor Quinn. For now, the 2011 Vikings boast a committee that includes seniors Parker Woodworth and Ben Herrera and junior Bobby Hess. At 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, Woodworth is the biggest of the bunch.
“Three-headed monster, you know, the munchkins. I’ve been real pleased with that,” Wicinski said. “It’s rare that I’ve been blessed with the tailbacks. It’s been rare that you get that one guy, but who knows, one of these guys could pop and be that one guy. The offense is designed for them, you know.”
Geneva opens the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Rock Island visits Burgess Field. The Vikings rushed for 232 yards against the Rocks in Week 1 of last season, a 42-28 loss.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.