Ross commits to play at Marshall

By on July 20, 2016

 

Warwick rising senior Rene Ross (left) gave a verbal commitment this past April to continue her soccer career at Division-One Mar¬shall University.

Warwick rising senior Rene Ross (left) gave a verbal commitment this past April to continue her soccer career at Division-One Marshall University.

As a first-year head coach for the Warwick girls soccer team, Wendell Hannaford has only seen Rene Ross in training for slightly more than a month.

That’s been enough, however, to gauge the rising senior’s motor.

“(Rene)’s got the work ethic,” said Hannaford, who has previously served as an assistant for the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Albright College, in addition to coaching the U15-U18 girls soccer teams at Penn Legacy. “She’s one of the most competitive players I’ve coached.”

Chrissy Casella, who stepped down as the Lady Warriors’ coach following the 2015 season, agrees.

“We could be doing something stupid like a sponge relay and she wants to win every single thing, every single time,” Casella laughed.

In the fall of 2017, Ross will take that competitiveness to the Division-One Marshall University women’s soccer team, to whom she verbally committed this past April to accept an athletic scholarship.

She also received an offer from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, in addition to considering Old Dominion University. But after visiting Marshall last November and again in February, Ross was sold on the Thundering Herd.

“At first, I was pretty torn between (Marshall and UMBC). Then when I went on my visit to Marshall, I just knew it was the one for me,” said Ross, who first became interested in the school years ago after watching the 2006 movie, “We Are Marshall.”

Having the opportunity to play for head coach Kevin Long factored into her decision. And the set-up of the campus was also appealing.

“When I went down (to Marshall), I really liked the coach and I could see myself fitting in there,” said Ross, who plans to major in a business-related field. “I think the campus is really pretty. It’s close all together, that’s what I was looking for. I like that there’s life around the town that you can escape to.”

Ross, who also received a few Division-Two and Three offers, will join a Thundering Herd squad which finished 15-4-3 overall (6-2-2 Conference), ending their season with a 1-0 setback to North Texas in the Conference USA championship game.

As she embarks on her final season at Warwick, Ross is looking to become stronger and prepare herself for the speed of play with the Herd.

“I’m looking to compete right away,” she said. “(Coach Long) said he’s willing to play freshmen if I earn the spot.”

The Lady Warriors’ star center mid didn’t have to look far to get a scouting report about Marshall. Warwick alum Laurel Etter, who coached the Lady Warriors’ JV team last season, also wore the kelly green and white colors of Marshall, so the two of them talked when Ross was starting to look there.

“We talked a few times and she gave me some pointers about it,” Ross recalled.

“(Rene) should definitely be playing college soccer somewhere,” Casella said, “and Marshall is definitely very lucky to have her. She’s going to make that program even better than what it is. It was kinda cool that (Rene and Laurel) could talk a little bit about that and their experience.”

Both Hannaford and Casella cited Ross’s field vision, among other qualities, as her strengths.

“She’s just been an all-around great teammate,” Hannaford said. “She’s been at a lot of the summer and she’s a player that leads by example. The girls look to her in drills to see what she’s doing and everybody’s level just amps up. She’s a very good technical player, and a huge strength of hers is playing balls in through the seams, finding those gaps in between defenses. Her work rate is phenomenal from what I’ve seen. She’s constantly working and hustling. She’s solid defensively and offensively, just an all-around player.”

A year ago, Ross earned Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One First-Team All-Star honors while scoring a team-high eight goals. She was a Second-Team selection as a sophomore.

“Rene has this ability to make everyone around her better,” Casella remarked. “She sees the field, she sees a play three passes before it should happen and she will then tell people what to do and where to go and what runs to make and she just has such a huge impact on the field.”

A member of Penn Legacy through U12, Ross now plays club soccer with PA Classics. Although she has competed at forward and outside mid in her career, Ross admits that she has grown attached to the center mid position.

“I like how I can see every position,” Ross said, “I have many options, and it’s kinda like the leader of the team.”

That being said, she is willing to step in wherever needed with the Thundering Herd.

“Center mid is a pretty competitive position,” Ross commented, “and (coach Long) said he’s willing to move people around, so wherever he sees me fitting in is where I’ll be.”

In the meantime, her immediate focus is trying to help the Warwick girls get back to the District Three playoffs for the first time since spring of 2012.

“One of my biggest goals, one of the team’s biggest goals this year is to make it to Districts for the first time,” Ross said. “The seniors have never been there, so that’s one of our biggest goals.”

The competitive fire of Ross can do nothing but help the Lady Warriors in their quest.

“I’ve been blessed with players who always give that extra little bit,” Hannaford said. “I’ve had players play through injuries, players play when they could barely move and Rene kinda fits into that mold. She’s got that competitiveness and that drive. When it’s game time, she’s on.”

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