NISKAYUNA — What’s next, Marisa DiVietro isn’t sure.
The former Niskayuna High School star certainly has options.
Normally, that’s great — but, right now, DiVietro just wishes the plan she’d put in motion could have seen itself through.
Finally secure in a spot as one of the North Carolina women’s lacrosse program’s top players, DiVietro was playing a crucial role for the nation’s top-ranked team that was chasing after its first national championship since 2016. Then, after she graduated with a business degree, DiVietro planned to head to San Francisco to start working at IEQ Capital, a wealth-management company.
“I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to come up with an answer of what to do,” DiVietro said recently in a phone interview. “All my teammates and friends are asking me what I’m going to choose.”
With the NCAA’s decision that seniors in spring sports could gain an extra year of playing eligibility after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in canceled spring-sport seasons across the country, DiVietro — back home in Niskayuna — could head to Chapel Hill for another year of school and lacrosse. While delaying starting her professional career wouldn’t be an easy decision to make on its own, it’s further complicated because it’s not yet 100% clear how scholarship aid would be handled and DiVietro would also need to figure out a revised academic path since she intends to complete her undergraduate work this spring.
“So, right now, I’m waiting for more answers,” said DiVietro, who helped lead Niskayuna to a pair of Section II championships during a high school career that saw her score more than 100 points in her senior season.
Before her senior college season was canceled, DiVietro had worked her way into a starring role with head coach Jenny Levy’s top-ranked program. After registering 19 goals and 12 assists in her first three seasons at North Carolina, DiVietro had contributed eight goals and four assists through the team’s 7-0 start. What turned out to be the final game of her 2020 season was one of the best of her college career, as DiVietro had two goals and an assist in a 20-18 win at No. 6 Northwestern.
A couple days later, North Carolina’s practice was filled with players “hysterically crying” as they knew word was coming that their season was set to end.
“This season was just so much for me, personally, because I was starting to get a bigger role. I’d found my place. It took me a couple years, but I’d started to realize what my skill set was [at the college level] and how it could benefit the team as a whole,” DiVietro said. “For it to end after seven games was so tough, personally. . . . I know in the grand scheme of things it was the right move, but in that moment it stung.”
These days, DiVietro does what she can to stay active. Back home in Niskayuna, the lacrosse star will pass the ball back and forth with her brother, go for long runs and find ways to continue strength training without the full range of equipment she’d become accustomed to using as a member of her college program. Beyond that, she’s keeping up with her classes that have all moved online.
“Doing school from home,” DiVietro said, “is very weird.”
That’s true for anyone, but especially for a senior who was on the verge of taking part in all the things that student-athletes work toward during their college careers. If she opts not to head back to North Carolina for a fifth school year, DiVietro said she has more than enough “great memories” to leave her satisfied, but she also knows there are so many more memories to make if she heads back to school.
“What makes the decision so tough is that Chapel Hill is such a special place, and realizing that in my senior year I never got a senior day or a graduation — the stuff that seniors expect,” DiVietro said. “That makes it so much harder to leave such a special place.”
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.