On the women's lacrosse team's spring break trip to Florida, sophomore co-captain Maeghan Ross had an issue with her heart and gave her teammates a scare.
"When we played Vassar in Florida, I got a stick to the chest and went down," the journalism major said. "I was down for the count, but I heard the word 'ambulance' and got right up, and was ready to go back in after three minutes."
Ross went on to score a game-high six goals in the contest. Her grit and ability to fight through injury inspires her teammates.
"She blew my mind in Florida," said freshman communication disorders major Amy Gervis. "All her dedication to the team motivates me to give it my all."
While Ross's love for the game has propelled her to great heights, her heart is also one of many physical ailments that is an obstacle for her to overcome. Ross was recently on a heart monitor for mitral valve prolapse, a heart disorder where one valve doesn't close properly and it is difficult for blood to pump back into the heart.
Other injuries she is currently playing through are Achilles tendonitis, Post-Tib tendonitis, a pinky injury and dizzy spells.
"It's less than last year," she said, referring to a time when she also suffered pulled hamstrings and quadriceps. "Everything was taped and wrapped except for my left arm."
The injuries are numerous, but Ross's passion for lacrosse and affection for her teammates pushes her through the pain. Her feelings and appreciation for her teammates show when she praises them for making her a great player.
"I'm obviously happy about my success as a player, but without my teammates, I wouldn't be the player I am," she said. "This article is for me, but it's about the team. I didn't even know where the stat page was on the website until a couple of days ago."
Head over to Rotch Field before a women's lacrosse practice and you'll find Ross there. She dumps out a bag of balls, picks one up, runs at the goal with some head and stick fakes, and shoots it into the net. She repeats this process for every ball in the bag, and goes through about four bags before she heads into the locker room.
"Maeghan is a perfectionist," said Co-Head Coach Gail Decker-Wittman. "She is a perfectionist, a hard worker and a naturally talented athlete. That is a deadly combination."
It is that dedication to her craft that makes Ross a standout on the lacrosse field. In her freshman year, Ross set the school record of goals with 62, had 26 assists, and was named to the All-Great Northeast Athletic Conference second team.
She has followed that up this year so far by leading the team in goals, assists and points, and was most recently named GNAC player of the week for the period ending April 12.
Ross, nominated by Decker-Wittman, was also one of 12 girls from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain selected to play on a global team in two tournaments over the summer in Prague.
"I love the game," Ross said. "Ever since I was little it's been a part of me. I play year round. It's who I am."
Ross came to Emerson after a successful high school career at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Mass.
The team won the Hockomock League title every year she was there and got as far as the state semifinals her junior year. Individually, Ross was second-team all-state her sophomore and senior years, as well as being named team captain her senior year.
Ross applied early action to Emerson and only to Emerson. She let her mother handle the other recruiters, and while she could be playing lacrosse at a higher level, she said getting a good education was her priority.
"You can't major in lacrosse. For me, playing ends in college, except for old ladies tournaments," she said. "If I applied somewhere else and got in, I'd be tempted to go. My mom would take the recruitment letters away from me."
While Ross dominates on the field, there is still more she can do.
"In my opinion Maeghan has not yet reached her potential as a lacrosse player," Decker-Wittman said. "Over the next few games and the next two years you can expect a lot more from her."
Don't think Ross doesn't know that, either. She'll continue to be at practice early, doing whatever it takes to make her game perfect.