Israels nets player of the year honor

Posted on 21 September 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Caroline Israels said her memories from college were “really good.”

My teammates were absolutely awesome!” Israels said. “I had a lot of memories with them. I loved my experience with them and what we were able to accomplish together.”

Israels, 22, closed out her final year at San Diego State University by being named the Golden Coast Conference Player of the Year for the second time. She shared the award when she was a sophomore in 2015.

She was surprised at being named the Player of the Year.

There were a lot of good players that came in from Pacific,” said Israels, who also landed on the all-league first team for the third straight season, led SDSU in goals (60), assists (37), steals (82), multi-goal games (19), hat tricks (8), multi-assist games (11) and multi-steal games (20). “They did an amazing job as well as my own teammates as well as some from other schools. It was a great honor to get that award again.”

I haven’t really focused on the individual award,” she continued. “It obviously meant something to me, but not as much as a championship would have. Being able to go 26-0 in the conference over the course of four years in the regular season was absolutely amazing. Not a lot of people have been able to do that in their careers and I really appreciate that and getting another 7-0 regular season more than the individual accolades.”

Israels said she went out west to “make a name for herself.” She majored in business administration with an emphasis in human resources and is now in San Antonio working at Aerotek staffing agency where she is a recruiter.

It wasn’t all easy, however, as she nearly didn’t go back to school after her freshman season. After graduating from Westminster Academy in 2013 where she was an All-County Player of the Year for both daily newspapers, she battled some homesickness but gutted it out.

Her mother, Denise, a former swimmer at Oklahoma University and the girls’ water polo coach at Fort Lauderdale’s Westminster Academy, had a stroke that nearly killed her and Caroline was out in San Diego.

She had her stroke and of course she has always been there for everything,” Israels said. “She, of course, wanted to come to every tournament, every weekend, everything she could possibly be at and traveling is now obviously harder so having to tell her no and that it wasn’t doable for certain weekends was very hard. So we were trying to motivate her through everything she was going through was and still is very difficult.

I mean she is doing an absolutely amazing job and we couldn’t be more proud of where she is and how far she has come,” Israels continued. “She is still around the pool every single day and she refuses to give that up no matter how many times we have told her. She should probably stop, but the kids keep her going and coming out to meets kept her going. We hope she continues to succeed. She is doing absolutely great and we are really happy about it.”

Looking back over her career, she said “breathtaking” would sum up her time there.

It was kind of a surreal experience,” she said. “I am happy I stayed and made the friendships I made and write our names in history at San Diego State.”

Aztecs coach Carin Crawford gushed about her former player and called her a “once-in-a-generation talent,” and felt privileged to have the opportunity to coach her. Crawford said Israels was a big reason why they won five championships in four seasons during her time at SDSU. Crawford said that Israels’ senior year was her best because she became more of an all-around player.

Caroline is one of the most physically gifted athletes I’ve ever coached,” said Crawford, who just began her 19th year at the helm. “She is smooth and efficient, she was the fastest player on our team and makes it look effortless.

Caroline had a great career at SDSU because she had an opportunity to make a difference here, and I think she really thrives on that,” Crawford added. “She wanted the ball in her hand to take the potential game-winning shot. She has that mentality of embracing the pressure of performing and she was able to do it for four years—game winners, buzzer beaters, half court shots etc. She was our go-to scorer for four years. That’s an incredible legacy.”

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