Photo from ICGaels.com
Iona College’s community impacted freshman Kara Zazzaro when she first visited campus. The competitive softball program at Iona stood out to Zazzaro as well. The athletics combined with the great academic environment solidified her choice to come to New Rochelle.
Incoming freshmen are likely to struggle when first coming to college, but Zazzaro seems to have skipped this stage. Zazzaro has performed well this season, with a total of 130 strikeouts.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Zazzaro said. “I knew that I just had to play my game and not change anything.”
The freshman pitcher achieved many honors in high school, ranging from 2018 Record Journal Softball Player of the Year to 2018 Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Selection.
Zazzaro added to her career accolades three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week awards this season. She accredits her awards and good performance to the support she received from her teammates throughout the season.
“I’m just happy that I’ve been able be as consistent as I have to help the team overall,” Zazzaro said. “I think that’s the most rewarding thing.”
Zazzaro recalls her beating Manhattan as her fondest memory so far this season. The team’s effort came through during the game and resulted in an exciting experience for Zazzaro.
“Beating the Jaspers is always a great feeling when you’re a Gael,” Zazzaro said.
Student athletes always face the challenge of balancing athletics with academics, but Zazzaro has handled it well. The structure of being a student -athlete helps with balancing her time, according to Zazzaro. Time management is the number one priority that helps her succeed out of all the tools used by student-athletes.
The best advice Zazzaro gives to incoming student -athletes is to not let the game seem bigger than it is just because it’s in college.
“The game will be played different at the higher level, but that shouldn’t change how you play your game,” Zazzaro said.
Zazzaro’s mentality has also changed since she has come to Iona. She used to put a lot of pressure on herself, but now she knows to believe in her team more.
Mentality plays a bigger role in college over high school, according to Zazzaro. It’s important to keep your mental game sharp going into every game.
“Even if you slip up for an inning or two, that could be the difference of a game,” Zazzaro said. “Having that [mentality] consistently throughout the game is something that I have to keep reminding myself to do.”
Zazzaro wanted to make herself a proper staple in the team when she first came to Iona. She is determined to give her team the best chance at winning when she’s on the mound.