Sewickley Academy grad Ross wraps up lacrosse career at Tufts
Caroline Ross has been a skilled lacrosse player since she began playing in middle school.
She started with the sport a couple years earlier after her older sister by two years, Casey, received a stick. Caroline wanted one, too. Each then had a partner with whom to learn the sport.
“We both found that we really loved it and stuck with it,” the younger Ross said.
She credits those impromptu extra all-hours sessions in the family's backyard with making her one of the better players as a child. But that growth and development didn't end after the two-time high school All-American graduated from Sewickley Academy in 2012.
Caroline finished a high-scoring career at Division III Tufts this spring. An attacker, she led the Jumbos in goals, assists and points each of her four seasons at the school located outside of Boston.
For her career, she is sixth in Tufts history in points (236), fourth in goals (167) and sixth in assists (64). She was an Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association first-team All-American the past two seasons after earning a second-team honor as a freshman.
The team advanced to the Sweet 16 her junior year and finished with a winning record each of the past three seasons.
Heading into that next level in 2012, though, Caroline said she didn't know what to expect.
Casey also played in college, but she competed at the Division I level at Columbia. Caroline knew what that game looked like and the time commitment it required. But she would compete two tiers below in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, albeit one of the hardest conferences at that level.
She had questions. How good were the players she'd compete with and against? How intense would the team's training sessions be?
“I went to D-III knowing that it would still be a huge part of my life,” Ross said. “But I wasn't sure to what extent.”
“I didn't know the intensity, really, would look like.”
She soon found out.
“I got there and was a little bit surprised at how talented my teammates were and how much time we put in and how serious the workouts were,” she said.
The length of that initial offseason gave her time to acclimate, so by the time her rookie season began, she was ready to contribute immediately.
In the 2013 season opener, her first game, she had a team-high three goals off the bench. She scored twice in each of the next two games, starting the latter.
“I knew that I could play in that league,” she said. “But it felt good to have the work pay off and also be helping my team out and just doing my job on the field.”
By the looks of it, she never stopped.
Jasper Wilson is a freelance writer.