WOONSOCKET — When Carissa Gould packs her bags and drives off to college sometime in August, she won’t have to worry about racking up heavy mileage on her Honda Odyssey.
That’s because Gould will only need to drive 10 minutes from her Woonsocket home to nearby Bryant University, a decision that she made official on Wednesday afternoon at Mount St. Charles Academy.
Flanked by her parents, Paul and Renee Gould, her brothers, Dan and Brett, head coach Josh D’Abate, and athletic director Richard Lawrence in a conference room next to Lawrence’s office, Gould signed a National Letter of Intent to the Smithfield school, where she will play for the women’s volleyball team.
And the decision to go to Bryant was a very easy one for the two-time All-State setter. While there were a few other schools on Gould’s “wish list”, they were deep, deep down on the list.
“Bryant surpassed everyone else,” remarked Gould, whose father is also Mount’s assistant coach. “I’ve been going there for volleyball camps ever since my freshman year. I just fell in love with the campus and the coaches there, and I knew that was where I wanted to go.”
Gould, who is expected to switch from a setter role to a libero for the Bulldogs, is not only very familiar with the school, but also one of the assistant coaches on the staff, former East Providence High mentor and RIIL Hall of Famer Luis Carvalho.
“I’ve know him forever,” Gould said of Carvalho. “Since the sixth grade, I’ve always gone to the East Providence camps that he’s run. He has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the sport, and it just makes me more excited to be going there.”
Gould’s high school career came to an end last Wednesday night in the Division I semifinals at URI’s Keaney Gymnasium, as her Mounties lost in five close sets to soon-to-be crowned two-time champion Coventry High, dropping the final game, 16-14.
It was a difficult finish to what has been a remarkable four-year run with the Mounties, one that saw her help the team win four straight division championships, the Division II state title as a freshman in 2009, and 57 out of 60 regular-season games.
She has totaled over 800 assists during her career, handing out over 330 in each of the last two seasons, and she has established herself as one of the state’s top passers and defensive standouts.
And Gould has done all this despite being 5-foot-2 and the shortest player on Mount’s roster. But she’s more than made up for her lack of height with her hustle and strong work ethic, in addition to her strong all-around play.
“My parents being as short as they are, I knew I was never going to be a 5-foot-10, 6-foot hitter,” Gould said with a laugh. “My height’s definitely been my motivation. I knew I would have to prove everyone wrong. People said, ‘You’re not as tall as everyone,’ but I could jump as high and do the same things everyone else could do.”
When it comes to volleyball, it’s a year-round labor of love for Gould, who after spending the fall with the Mounties, is a member of the school’s indoor track team (“It really helps me with my conditioning for volleyball,” she said.) and is back in action with the competitive Blast Volleyball academy. She stars as the team’s libero, while her good friend, Ponaganset’s Taylor Stevens, is the setter.
During the summer, Gould has taken her talents outdoors to the sand and the grass. She’s headed down to Narragansett and Newport to play in beach volleyball tournaments, as well as Wickford to play in the grass Harri Volleyball Tournament, which attracts some of the state’s finest high school players and has seen Gould and Stevens team up to win the last two high school girls’ ‘A’ doubles championships.
Before her junior year, Gould was also selected to the prestigious USA Volleyball Youth A-3 camp in Colorado Springs, Col., which invites some of the best high school players in the country for a week of workouts at the U.S. Olympic training facility. She was the only New Englander among the 26 players.
“I got to play with some really good players,” she noted. “It was a lot of fun. It was more like a training program, but the level of competition was crazy.”
Gould is the second Mount volleyball player to ink a Letter of Intent in as many years. Last November, outside hitter Kelsey Lace signed with the University of Saint Rose of Albany, N.Y.