December 3, 2021 - by

Her Golden Opportunity

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Her journey to get to Florida State has not been an easy one, but senior defensive specialist Caroline Golden has always stood firm on her dreams.

One of those dreams was to make it to the highest level of collegiate volleyball. Her story is one of perseverance, faith and some big-time resilience. And now that she’s landed at Florida State, she has learned to soak up every moment.

“Being a Nole means a lot because you represent something bigger than yourself. It’s just a legendary place,” Golden said.

Her Golden Opportunity

Rewind back over a decade ago when Caroline Golden, from Mandeville, Louisiana, was at her older sister’s volleyball match peppering the ball back and forth with her dad on the sideline. She grew up playing volleyball in the yard with her sister when her love for the game grew stronger.

At nine years old she began to play park volleyball, where she was playing competitively with 13 year-olds. Even though she was the youngest, she was the only one who could overhand serve, proving that she was a bit ahead of her age group.

Throughout the next several years, Golden joined a club team and showed exceptional athletic promise during her high school career. After high school, she committed to play volleyball at William Carey in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which was at the NAIA level.

When speaking about her experience at William Carey, Golden spoke with admiration for her teammates and coach there. “It was one of my favorite years,” she stated.

She had a very successful year and received the honor of freshman of the year. After her freshman season, Golden knew she wanted to play bigger ball, she wanted to compete at the highest level possible. She spoke with her coach at William Carey who supported her next steps all the way.

Her Golden Opportunity

“She was all for it, she was very supportive. She wanted the best for me. I was very grateful to have someone who did support my dream. I can’t think of any lows. It was good competition and I was getting better. I loved it,” said Golden when reflecting on her time at William Carey.

Golden spent her sophomore and junior years at Southeastern Louisiana, progressing to the Division I level. “It was a good experience,” she said. “I grew up knowing Southeastern ever since I was little just because it was so close to home. I would always have family come in and see me, and friends were always at the games.”

She knew that her aspirations as a student-athlete were still not all the way fulfilled, so Golden took the spring semester of her junior year to train and visit other universities. She knew the exact goals she had, so she took it upon herself to turn those dreams into a reality.

“I got all of the Division I emails of coaches that I was interested in and I sent them all emails,” Golden said.

Her Golden Opportunity

Caroline visited Florida State in the spring of 2020. She fell in love with the volleyball program and committed the day after her visit. Just a few days later, the whole world would be on lockdown due to the pandemic, which ultimately never gave her the initial chance to tour FSU’s renowned campus.

However, in true Caroline Golden fashion, she looked on the bright side rather than the negatives.

“I committed to a school that I really didn’t know what it looked like,” she added. “But it was nice having online classes because I could train, practice, have our games, then come home and do online school. It helped me transition to FSU. This is my first semester on campus. I hadn’t been on campus at all except for Tully Gym.”

Being a part of the Seminole Family means the world to her. Though her time at FSU has been short, the memories she has made here along with her impact on the volleyball team will last a lifetime. Golden is utilizing her COVID year this season, when all volleyball student-athletes were granted an additional year to compensate for what they lost during the 2020 season.

“One of my favorite memories is winning against UF. It’s always nice beating the Gators,” she said. “Last year was really fun when we beat No. 14 Notre Dame. We were down two sets and we came back and won.”

The responsibilities of being student-athlete and transferring schools can prove to be difficult emotionally and physically, but Caroline Golden has always seen her journey as one of her many strengths. Her path to Florida State was not an easy one. She took a difficult path to get where she is today. Golden had a dream and refused to give up until she accomplished it. Through hard work, dedication, and a beautiful outlook on life, she made it.

On Friday, Dec. 3, the hard-working defensive specialist will realize another dream of playing in the NCAA Tournament as FSU faces Kansas State in the first round held at Lincoln, Neb. This postseason will be Golden’s first and only experience of playing on one of collegiate volleyball’s biggest stages.

With a small tattoo on her wrist that says ‘Unconquered’, Golden is looking forward to being on the court this weekend.

“What you give is what you get. Ever since I was little I always talked about wanting to play big-time ball. I’ve had people in my past who have doubted me. I worked hard. I always wanted to accomplish this dream ever since I was little. I love it. I love playing,” Golden said, gleaming with appreciation for every experience and person who has helped her through this journey.

Graduating this December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Golden is excited for the future and hopes to have a career in medical sales.

While her collegiate career has been anything but easy, it has made Golden stronger and who she is today. She took the road less traveled, a road that many may not be willing to take because of how often it can test your patience.

“I’ve learned how to face adversity. Life’s constantly throwing things at you. Stay focused. Don’t let other people’s doubts shift your focus,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. Everyone starts somewhere. You just have to face adversity and you eventually get better.”

With a humble heart and a positive attitude, Caroline Golden is driven, hardworking, and Unconquered: A true Florida State Seminole.

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