Nowakowski has only one career goal at Fordham, but has been a stalwart on defense throughout her four years. (Photo by Michael Rezin/The Ram)
Casey Nowakowski has had a stellar career as a defender at Fordham, playing in 56 games and starting 44 of them. She was an all-state selection in both soccer and indoor track while attending Cheshire High School in Connecticut, and has been consistently named to the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll while at Fordham. She recorded her first career goal in a 3-2 overtime win against UMass earlier this year.
The Fordham Ram: At any point this year has it hit you while you’re on the field that this is your last year playing soccer at Fordham?
Casey Nowakowski: Not until recently. Yesterday, we lost to Dayton, which is awful, and that’s really when it hit me. We were walking off of the field, and I told one of the freshmen that they played really well, and she said, “I really wish we could have brought it home for you.” As soon as she said it I thought, ‘Oh my God this is my last chance, this is our last time to do this.’ So it really didn’t hit me until yesterday, but when it hit me, it really hit me. It’s crazy.
TFR: You were one of three freshman to play in every game your first year. What was it like to play with your sister, who was a senior at the time?
CN: Well, my freshman year of high school was the same way. She was a senior while I was a freshman, so coming here we kind of knew what it was going to be like, but obviously it was different since this is college. She really helped me on the field and off the field, to get used to things and to transition to college and college playing, which is so much different than high school. It was really good to have her, plus I knew some of the girls who were already friends with her. Having her here just made it so much easier for me as a freshman to get into the swing of things.
TFR: Did her experiences here have a lot of influence over you coming to Fordham?
CN: Kind of. When she was visiting the school, I came, and I actually didn’t like it the first time I was here, but then the coach told her while she was here to have me email him. I didn’t want to impose because it was her school, but she said that it was fine and to look at the school and talk to the coach. I did, and everything kind of just fell in to place. I came back, I liked the school and I liked the coach, so everything worked out.
TFR: In four years, what is the best memory you have at Fordham?
CN: It would probably have to be beating Maryland. It was just a regular season game and was one of the longer trips that we did. They were ranked and were really good, so obviously we were nervous going in. We ended up winning 1-0, and it was unbelievable. They were devastated. Their coach said losing to us was a dagger to the heart. It was such a good feeling, knowing that we could play at that level and that we could beat a team like that.
TFR: How do you manage being a student-athlete?
CN: It’s difficult sometimes. The past couple of weeks were hard, with midterms and everything, but I really enjoy soccer so it isn’t something that I have to do. It’s something that I want to fit into my schedule. I’ve been doing it for a long time so I have practice managing my time. It’s not a burden on my time.
TFR: What did you guys do to turn around a slow start to the season?
CN: I don’t really know. Coming in we had a lot of freshmen playing and it is tough to come in and start as a freshman. You don’t know what it’s going to be like and you don’t know what people are expecting of you. I think that the freshmen that stayed on the field really got the hang of it quickly. We also had a lot of older girls return to the starting lineup, so we started to click at the right time. Obviously we haven’t really gotten the results that we wanted to, but we’ve been playing a lot better.
TFR: What’s the ceiling for this team in the coming years? How good can they be?
CN: There is a lot of freshmen and I think that the girls that have been playing a lot have gotten great experience playing a lot of good teams this year. Having the experience on the field will definitely help. We’re graduating four people now, so there’s gonna be four spots that need to be filled. Having a big freshman class is really good because they get a lot of experience. Even if they don’t play they know what’s expected of them when they step on to the field. I think that they should definitely have some good years to come.
TFR: What are your plans for after graduation?
CN: I’m not exactly sure yet. I’m a psychology major, and I think I want to work in the school, so I definitely have to go to grad school. I think I want to be a school counselor, but I also am a Spanish minor and might want to go abroad and do something with that.