‘We just re­ally need to fight for it ev­ery game’

Vol­ley­ball Ax­e­woman Sarah Ross back for fifth year, eye on bring­ing home ban­ner

Valley Journal Advertiser - - SPORTS - BY SARA BAX­TER ACA­DIA ATH­LET­ICS

It is not un­com­mon for var­sity ath­letes to re­turn for a fifth year of school to take ad­van­tage of their fi­nal year of el­i­gi­bil­ity. In some cases, ath­let­ics are not the only rea­son why an ath­lete will re­turn

- some­times they will come back to reach a higher stan­dard aca­dem­i­cally as well.

Sarah Ross, a life-side hit­ter on the Aca­dia Ax­e­women vol­ley­ball team, is a per­fect ex­am­ple of this type of ath­lete. Hav­ing grad­u­ated last spring with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in En­vi­ron­ment Sus­tain­abil­ity Stud­ies, Ross re­turned to Wolfville for her fifth year, for another chance to com­pete with the A on her jersey and to write her hon­ours th­e­sis.

Drive to ac­com­plish Aca­demic Goals

When asked why she chose to re­search on gen­der equal­ity in var­sity sport at Aca­dia Univer­sity, Ross said it was a topic near and dear her heart.

“I picked this topic be­cause as a fe­male ath­lete I was ex­posed to gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion in sport at a young age,” she said. “And be­ing able to come back for a fifth year and study so­ci­ol­ogy and re­search this topic is some­thing I am very pas­sion­ate about.”

Re­cently, a num­ber of var­sity ath­letes at Aca­dia Univer­sity have cho­sen to re­search and write a th­e­sis, which comes as no sur­prise with the high per­cent­age of Aca­demic All-Cana­di­ans pro­duced in Wolfville.

“I think ev­ery­body is dif­fer­ent, but I think if you put your mind to it any­body can ac­com­plish it. As a var­sity ath­lete, you have ob­vi­ously main­tained drive to ac­com­plish ath­letic goals, so I think th­ese skills trans­fer and if you’re com­mit­ted to it then you can ac­com­plish (aca­demic goals) as well,” said Ross.

Time man­age­ment

As a stu­dent at a univer­sity where even the ath­letic de­part­ment truly ex­pects aca­demic and com­mu­nity suc­cess, along with sports suc­cess, Ross said time man­age­ment skills are vi­tally nec­es­sary to bal­ance ev­ery­thing.

“Time man­age­ment is chal­leng­ing, but I think be­cause I’m in my fifth year and be­cause I’ve had the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in school, I have the ex­pe­ri­ence of time man­age­ment,” she said.

Not only is she a var­sity ath­lete, but Ross also ded­i­cates time as co­pres­i­dent of the Aca­dia Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion. She is also ac­tive in Kin­der­skills, the Axe Academy vol­ley­ball camp and has vol­un­teered with many groups and ini­tia­tives on cam­pus.

And then there’s her th­e­sis.

“The most chal­leng­ing thing is with a th­e­sis, it is re­ally easy to get be­hind be­cause there aren’t many due dates, so you re­ally need to main­tain self-dis­ci­pline and struc­ture to get it all done,” she added.

Fifth and fi­nal

Five years after com­ing to Wolfville, she does not re­gret her de­ci­sion for a mo­ment. Aca­dia, and the fam­ily at­mos­phere here, was in­te­gral in her de­ci­sion to re­turn for her fifth and fi­nal year of var­sity vol­ley­ball.

It’s clear from the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the vol­ley­ball play­ers, both on and off the court, that they truly are a fam­ily.

“We have done a lot of team bond­ing through­out the sea­son so far, which I think is re­ally good,” said Ross.

With most of the team liv­ing within a five-minute walk of each other, they can usu­ally be found watch­ing sports, cook­ing or hav­ing movie nights out­side of prac­tice sim­ply be­cause they en­joy be­ing to­gether.

Ross is con­fi­dent in her team this sea­son.

“I think a goal - and the rea­son I am back for a fifth year - is be­cause I want a ban­ner,” she said. “With the group we have this year, I am re­ally con­fi­dent we can get there. We have so much ta­lent across so many dif­fer­ent play­ers and ev­ery­one con­trib­utes so much. I think it is re­ally at­tain­able, we just re­ally need to fight for it ev­ery game.”

When look­ing ahead to her time after fin­ish­ing her stud­ies at Aca­dia, Ross says any­thing is a pos­si­bil­ity.

“Ul­ti­mately, what­ever I plan to do, I hope to stay in touch with Aca­dia,” she said, adding that she’ll be re­turn­ing to cheer on her team again in the fu­ture.

She is fo­cused on the cur­rent vol­ley­ball sea­son and the com­ple­tion of her th­e­sis be­fore she plans too far ahead.

GARY MAN­NING

Sarah Ross, #5, leaps high into the air after the ball in the vol­ley­ball Ax­e­women’s home opener in Oc­to­ber.

GARY MAN­NING

Sarah Ross, #5, is hope­ful this will be the year the Ax­e­men bring home a ban­ner.

ACA­DIA ATH­LET­ICS

Sarah Ross bumps back a ball dur­ing play­off ac­tion last spring.

Sarah Ross

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