Esther Castedo stands at the free-throw line against Detroit Mercy. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

In her senior season, Esther Castedo has become a rock for Robert Morris

Esther Castedo is in the midst of her best season as a Colonial.

February 9, 2022

If you have watched a Robert Morris women’s basketball game this season, you probably have noticed Esther Castedo as someone heavily involved in the offense.

Castedo, who has built herself into one of the most consistent players on the team during her four seasons in Moon, went from coming off the bench averaging 6.2 points as a freshman to nearly doubling her production from that season in a new conference this year.

She remarked that not having the pressure on her as a freshman to perform prepared her to take on a bigger role as her career went on.

“Coming up as a freshman, you don’t have as much responsibility or pressure as the seniors do,” Castedo said. “Once you start getting better and better [as the years go on], you start to see your role, which is helping the team. That’s what I’m here to do.”

Leading the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game, Castedo has received extra attention from opponents as any leading scorer would as the teams try to counter RMU’s smothering defense and keep them off the board.

While she knows opponents are trying to stop her, she noted that she is confident in the rest of her team picking up the slack when she is being covered on defense, having tremendous trust for the rest of the roster.

Esther Castedo carries the ball against Cleveland State. Photo credit: Ethan Morrison

The early portion of the season was not easy for the Colonials, who were dealt a tough hand after Thanksgiving when head coach Charlie Buscaglia took an unexpected medical leave and had to step away.

Associate head coach Scott Schneider, according to Castedo, has not missed a beat stepping in.

“It took us a little while to adapt to the different coaching styles, but I think Coach Schneider is doing a really good job of being head coach,” Castedo said. “I have full trust in him. We’re such a young team, and we needed that time to fully develop.”

Schneider echoed a similar sentiment towards Castedo following a tough loss to Milwaukee earlier in the year.

“Esther’s been a rock for us. The best thing she brings is her consistency, and that’s something that you can depend on,” he said. “She does a great job of being that leader for us through her actions.”

One of the team’s younger players is Alejandra Mastral, who, like Castedo, hails from Spain. Castedo mentioned that she has connected with the freshman guard both on and off the court.

“I definitely have [taken her under my wing] a little bit. We have that connection, both being from Spain,” she said. “We see the court in very similar ways, and I am so happy that she is doing well [to start her career].”

Esther Castedo Alejandra Mastral
Esther Castedo and Alejandra Mastral high-five after a basket. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

Castedo, alongside graduate Nina Augustin and senior Natalie Villaflor, has become one of the veteran leaders on the team. It was not easy to take on that role to begin the season with a newer team to deal with, but it has cultivated over time.

“Last year, we only had two new girls on the roster, so it was easier for us,” Castedo said. “It was a little weird in the beginning [of this year], but now we’re becoming a family, and that’s the most important goal.”

Despite being six hours ahead and having several of her games go into the early hours of the night in Castedo’s hometown of Lugo, Spain, Castedo’s family makes sure they tune into every game and support her across the pond.

“I’m so thankful to have them. They stay up late in Spain and watch every single game and talk to me after,” she said. “It’s awesome to share that experience with them and have them through this process because it’s not easy to be in a whole different country with a whole different group of people.”

Her family and friends’ support showed out in droves for her on a recent poll on Colonial Sports Network, determining the week’s performance for the RMU basketball teams.

Of 165 votes on the poll, Castedo received an overwhelming 134 votes following her 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 steals against Detroit Mercy, good for 81 percent of the vote. Castedo was shocked to receive that much support and thanked everyone who voted for her.

Coming up as a freshman, you don’t have as much responsibility or pressure as the seniors do. Once you start getting better and better [as the years go on], you start to see your role, which is helping the team. That’s what I’m here to do.

— Esther Castedo on her role expanding over her career

That performance against Detroit Mercy was no fluke. The senior has become an elite stat-sheet stuffer for the Colonials, averaging 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals in addition to her 11.4 points per game, all career-high marks.

The Colonials have had a solid campaign, sitting at eighth. Castedo has seen the team’s growth as they have gone along, remarking that the team needs to get better every day as they stand in the season’s home stretch.

The guard feels confident in the team heading into postseason play, reiterating Scott Schneider’s statement throughout the year.

“We’re a team built for March,” Castedo said. “We just need to keep working and grinding and the results will come. Whether we make it all the way to the finals or not, I think it’s amazing how many obstacles we have overcome.”

As for her potential return to the roster next season for her graduate year, Castedo was open to that possibility.

“I’m just trying to focus on one day, one game at a time,” she said. “I have to answer that question at some point. I am just going to wait and see how the season goes, so we’ll see, I definitely want to keep playing, whether it’s here, back home, or another school.”

Esther Castedo will look to continue her best season as a Colonial on Friday as the Colonials travel to Purdue Fort Wayne in hopes of sweeping the season series from the Mastodons.

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