By Ray Hamill — Fortuna’s Charlotte Carroll is getting ready for the next chapter in her basketball career, announcing recently that she will play at Lewis & Clark University next year.
And that’s good news for an up-and-coming Pioneers team that is gaining an H-DNL player with a lot of promise and one who is fast evolving into a force in the paint.
Carroll, who was co-MVP of the Big 5 this past season after leading the Huskies to a first conference championship in close to 40 years, was also among the most improved players in the H-DNL this year, adding finesse and a self-belief to her obvious talents.
“I became a lot more confident in my role,” she said of her senior year. “I think in the past I’ve been a little hesitant.”
The senior standout says first-year Fortuna head coach Scott Betts played a big role in helping with her development, as well as that of the team, and that this year’s senior class had something to prove after a disappointing junior campaign that saw them miss out on qualification for the Dick Niclai tournament.
“All of us seniors had a lot on our senior year because of the disappointment of the year before, and I think Scott did an amazing job getting us to play together as a team,” she said.
Carroll was pivotal in that transformation herself — at both ends of the court — providing the foundation for the team’s success with her presence inside, especially on defense.
And she feels that focus on defense played a big part in her development as a player and preparing her for the jump to the collegiate level.
“We were definitely a defensive-minded team, and I think that was super important for me progression wise,” the Fortuna senior said.
Carroll made the decision to play for the Division-III Pioneers after consulting with some locals who have attended the Portland university, including the family of Eureka quarterback Cruz Montana, who plays football at Lewis & Clark.
She says it was important for her to find the right fit, not just athletically but even more so academically.
“For me the school part is really huge,” said Carroll, who wants to major in biology. “And I love that the coaches understood that.”
The Fortuna standout also fell in love with the area and felt welcomed by the players when she visited.
“I definitely like Portland, and the area,” she said. “It’s similar to here. And the players were super nice.
“It’s going to be something new, but I’m super excited I get to play.”
Carroll will join a young Pioneers team that finished 3-21 this past winter, with 10 of the 12 players on the roster just freshmen or sophomores.
She is not expected to come in and start immediately and will be given time to acclimatize herself to the higher level while playing behind a more experienced center.
“I’m excited I get to go in and learn and just transition to college life,” she said.