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Junior leads young Del Norte squad

12/08/2012, 4:43pm PST
By Glae Thien, Special to the U-T

Nighthawks reached the section Division III finals last season.


Del Norte junior Kyra Carusa scored 26 goals in 25 games last season.

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Del Norte High junior Kyra Carusa has a way of making a point for the Nighthawks.

Naturally right-footed, but also adept with her left, Carusa scored 26 goals in 25 games last season. What’s more, she had 34 assists.

But the bigger point is that Del Norte reached the San Diego Section Division III finals in her second varsity season and just the second as well for the school that opened in 2009. That’s why she plays the game.

“It’s the competition,” said Carusa, who has already committed to Stanford for college soccer. “It’s so competitive, and when you win or do something good in a game, there’s such satisfaction. I love it so much. Of course, I love winning, and I’m good at soccer, too. And I love my teammates.”

The Nighthawks (23-4) rode a 13-game winning streak into the section final before suffering a 4-0 loss to traditional power Cathedral Catholic. On the season, they outscored the opposition 106-28.

After the loss of just three senior starters to graduation, Del Norte looks to take a further step this season with an experienced yet still relatively young roster.

“It’s been really cool because we’ve grown so much, all of my friends on the team,” said Carusa, who welcomes her freshman sister, Kelley, to this season’s squad. “We had eight starting freshmen (two years ago). It was crazy, and now, we’re all juniors.”

Carusa has returned for the start of this season by beating the prognosis after suffering a broken right femur during a club showcase tournament in Somerset, N.J., during May.

By her doctor’s estimate, Carusa could have been sidelined as late as December. Instead, she was back in three months with two screws inserted for stability and just a small scar on her right hip from surgery soon after the incident. She came back home wearing a cast from heel to hip.

“I’m still getting back in shape,” Carusa said. “It’s a process. But it’s all coming back faster than I thought, and my leg hasn’t given me any problems.”

About the time of her return, Carusa also committed to Stanford. She visited the school in February after learning from her club coach that it would be an option.

“I went, ‘Oh, my, gosh, I could go to Stanford,’?” Carusa said. “Then I visited, and it was amazing and gorgeous.”

On last season’s Del Norte roster, Carusa was listed at three positions, even defender. Yet, with her offensive prowess, she gravitated to forward and stayed there.

“Kyra’s extremely explosive,” Nighthawks coach Gary Rossi said. “She has a great touch on the ball, and she’s very good at decision-making. Every time we have a competition, she gives her best. She doesn’t like to be beat. She likes to be No. 1.”

After all, that’s the main point.

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