Bridgeport grad named NEC Rookie of the Week

LORETTO, Pa. — If there was any doubt about Caitlyn Kroll’s ability to bounce back from two major knee surgeries, she’s erased that thought.

The St. Francis University point guard is off to an impressive start in her rookie campaign. And others are taking note, too.

Earlier this week, Kroll was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week after she averaged 16.3 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals a game.

“I was pretty surprised (to receive the award),” Kroll said before practice and departing for New York City where the Red Flashes will take on Columbia today. “I know there are a lot of good freshmen in the NEC, so to receive this is definitely an honor.”

Kroll’s road back has been documented. Since receiving full clearance, she’s showed no ill effects. Her game is back to the levels it was when she was dominating area competition at Bridgeport High School.

“I’ve worked hard to get back to where I am today,” Kroll said. “I am just trying to continue to play to my potential and continue to do the things I am capable of.”

Though she didn’t really doubt herself, Kroll admitted that there nerves when the season began. Questions about how her knee would respond, her ability to cut, etc. all popped into her mind from time to time. She’s been running the Red Flashes’ show since day one.

“I guess (my play) validates it,” Kroll said. “I know some people thought I might not be able to get back to where I was after two complicated surgeries. I am strong and back and better than I was before.”

That’s certainly saying something, especially after the career she put forth at Bridgeport, which saw her score more than 2,000 career points.

“I am definitely better than I was (in high school),” Kroll said. “I am shooting the ball a lot better, especially from the 3-point line.”

Though she’s averaging 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists a contest, Kroll admits that the learning curve and adjustment to Division I basketball is still ongoing.

“I am definitely still making some general freshman mistakes as I get used to how the game’s played at this level,” Kroll said. “I am averaging more than 30 minutes a game, so I am showing that I can play at the tempo we play at for long stretches.”

Entering the season, Kroll was annointed as the team’s point guard, but she expected to be more of a facilitator instead of a scorer like she was in high school. She’s actually done both quite well thus far.

“My role is definitely evolving,” Kroll said. “I am still looking to be pass first since I am the point guard, but I’ve realized that I need to take full advantage of the chances I get to shoot the ball.”

Don’t think for a minute that Kroll is content with winning the Rookie of the Year honor just this week. She’s got plenty of individual goals still in front of her.

“This actually motivates me more for what’s ahead,” Kroll said. “I said last year that I wanted to be rookie of the week and then keep on getting it and be rookie of the year. I just know that I have to keep working.”