“I’ve never seen a kid who doesn’t turn down the intensity regardless, and I think that’s what has made him who he is,” Warne said. “He’s at maximum intensity all the time.”
Carraway is a cornerstone of Georgetown’s turnaround over the past four years, helping the Hoyas move past a decade of irrelevance to win three consecutive Big East tournaments. Last week, they walloped Syracuse, 18-8, for their first NCAA tournament victory since 2007 as Carraway scored five goals and unsheathed an array of celebrations to enjoy each one.
The fifth-seeded Hoyas (13-2) meet fourth-seeded Virginia (11-4) on Saturday in Hempstead, N.Y., with the program’s first trip to the NCAA semifinals since 1999 at stake. It’s the next accomplishment Carraway wants in a college career that already has seen him set Georgetown’s career goals (195) and points (281) record and earn a finalist nod for this year’s Tewaaraton Award.
Not bad for a guy labeled as a standstill shooter when he joined the Hoyas after attending St. Mary’s High in Annapolis.
“No one even knew who I was coming into college,” Carraway said. “I had guys on my team who were like, ‘I didn’t even know your name until I got here.’ It definitely drove me to go out and get the extra work and committing to a lifestyle, and to get to where I am now is extremely satisfying.”
Just having this season is a joy. Georgetown was 6-0 when the pandemic ended last season, and Carraway knew he wanted to come back for a fifth year if he could. The NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver opened the door, and he was able to defer a job with Barclays in New York a year.
Warne was happy to find room for a player who is now responsible for two of the program’s four 50-goal campaigns.
“I immediately knew I wanted to come back for the season,” Carraway said. “There was too much on the table that I wanted to accomplish.”
With the Hoyas unable to work out on campus in the fall, Carraway helped organize practices at a public field and also helped teammates find gyms to get workouts in.
He also reached out to incoming freshmen and last summer messaged midfielder Dylan Hess while vacationing near Hess’s Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., home, asking to meet up and work on some shooting.
“Coming from a guy who’s committed to Georgetown and heard all the good things about the program and Jake Carraway and all the things he’d done, I was kind of freaking out: ‘Oh, my God, this guy wants to hang out with me,’ ” Hess said. “When I met him, you could tell all the good things said about him [were true]. Everything runs through him. … Jake is a once-in-a-lifetime player and a one-in-a-lifetime kind of guy.”
For opponents, there isn’t much friendliness to be found from Carraway. He started playing lacrosse when he was 4 but also pursued taekwondo and mixed martial arts — a combination that only fueled his aggression.
Toss in what he described as the “over-the-top friend group” he grew up with, and the source of his competitiveness is evident.
“Pickup lacrosse turned into fighting on the field; that was part of the game,” Carraway said. “It’d be ‘Right, let’s go play pickup basketball,’ but it’s not basketball at all because you’re tackling each other.”
Something else has pushed Carraway over the past four years: making sure the Hoyas don’t sink back into mediocrity — or worse. They were 2-12 in 2016, the year before he arrived on campus, and 4-10 in his freshman year. Only two players remain from that team, and Carraway often reminds teammates they must follow the blueprint that has allowed the Hoyas to thrive.
Still, a major reason the plan works as well as it does is Carraway, who came back for a fifth season determined to help the Hoyas complete their push back into college lacrosse’s elite — and has pulled it off.
“Maybe people thought we were good or they thought Jake was good, but we know what we’re about, and we know what Jake’s about,” Warne said. “I think Jake took it personally because of that competitive nature that he has and said, ‘I want to make sure you guys understand how good we can be,’ and he’s a big piece of that.”
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