Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/16/10
Courtnesy of SuburbanOneSports.com
Pennridge girls lacrosse coach Liz Wallace will tell you that she really doesn’t remember
Jess Roy when the then-freshman tried out for the team.
But she’ll never forget when Roy showed up her sophomore year.
“Jess tells me the stories, I don’t even really remember her then,” Wallace said. “She ended on the freshman team, and she was a great part of the freshman team and was a big leader there.
“Then when she came out in 10th grade, I was like, ‘Where did this girl come from? Who is she?’ She had completely transformed herself and her game within a year. It was unbelievable.”
That transformation was the result of countless hours of hard work and dedication by the young athlete who had something to prove both to her and to those who felt she wasn’t ready for the varsity or JV squads.
“I started working out a lot more, so my stamina and athleticism really went up from freshman to sophomore year,” Roy said. “I was kind of upset when I didn’t make varsity or JV my freshman year, so I went out that summer and did everything I could to become better, to make JV or varsity.
“I’m the kind of athlete that likes when people doubt me, because that pushes me, so I just push myself because I knew that I could personally do better.”
But that’s always been Roy’s approach to sports (as well as to other aspects of her life): always work hard … always learn … always strive to improve.
Her efforts and exceptional abilities have not gone unnoticed through the years.
“Jess has always been an inspiration to a lot of our younger girls,” Wallace said. “I always use her as an example of hard work … if you work hard enough, you can achieve what you want to achieve in the sport.
“She’s worked harder probably than anybody we’ve had on the team, with going to camps and really listening and absorbing and trying to perfect the craft. She’s able to recite coaching things she’s learned at camps from other coaches, she follows college games. It’s really an amazing asset to have somebody like that.”
And it’s nothing new from Roy, who, even as a member of the freshman team, was doing her part to help off the field as well as on it.
“Even off the field, I like to help people,” said Roy. “That’s my profession – I want to go into health care services. I guess it’s just who I am. I really enjoy learning and teaching. I think the greatest person you can be is the greatest example you can be, so it was really important for me to step out there and do what I knew how to do.”
And as she’s gotten older and more skilled, her desire to help her teammates and in turn, to help improve her team, has never subsided. And perhaps that what makes Roy such a team player … she’s willing to do whatever it takes and help out wherever necessary if it translates to team success.
“We had a huge senior class this year,” Wallace said of the squad, which finished 10-9 overall, 4-6 in the Continental Conference, and claimed the 24th seed in the District One Tournament. “But she was our most outstanding leader on the team this year, and it will be tough to not have her. If I had a younger player who needed work on her draws, I could say, ‘Jess can you work with her for 15 minutes on her draw?’ Just to have her as a resource was really great.
“She’s been very good at helping, and she’ll take it upon herself to pull people aside and she’ll be like another coach and impart her knowledge to everybody, which has been great.”
Of course, Roy also contributes on the field as well. She’s topped the five-goal mark in each of the past two seasons en route to being the team’s leading scorer. And she’s helped the Rams make two District playoff appearances after a decade-long postseason absence for Pennridge.
She did so playing attack as a junior, then moving to the more physically demanding midfield her senior season. And Roy made the transition with no fuss and, more importantly, with no difficulty, because this was what the team needed from her if it was to be successful.
“Coach Wallace puts her time into everything she does, and whatever she asks me to do, I want to do it 110 percent to make sure the team does better this year than it did the last year,” Roy said. “Moving to midfield was more of a necessity – we had some key midfielders leave last year and had to put Jen (Moyer), Emily (Maher) and I into the midfield permanently.
“I’m more of an attacker, but she moved us to midfield because that’s where she needed us. So I worked on my defense because I thought it was a weaker area of mine and I figured I would need to be back on defense a lot. I really put the time in and had Emily help me out a lot. I really worked a lot more (this offseason) so I would be in shape for the future.”
Roy’s immediate future includes heading out to Evanston, Ill., in the fall to attend Northwestern University. Next spring, she’ll suit up for the Wildcats’ lacrosse team as it looks make its seventh consecutive appearance in the National Championship Game and attempts to win back the title it held for five consecutive years from 2005 to 2009.
And while the chance to play for a championship-caliber team played a part in Roy’s decision to attend Northwestern, so did the academic excellence associated with the college’s name.
“My parents really pushed me with my academics,” said Roy, who graduated from Pennridge with a 3.9 GPA and who looked at several Ivy League schools in which to continue her education. “They knew how important it was. No matter what happened, lacrosse was going to end at some point and I’m going to need that degree, so that’s what drove me. I wanted to go to the best school possible.
“So the academics were extremely important to me. I knew that going to Northwestern, when I get out of school, I was going to have a very good degree.”
Wallace agrees that Roy will be a good fit in the purple-and-black of Northwestern, and she knows what a special student-athlete the school is getting.
“Going to Northwestern is really the coup de grace of Jess’s achievements,” Wallace said. “It’s a testament to her hard work that she made that happen. Along with her dedication to lacrosse, she’s an incredibly dedicated student. With everything in her life, she sets out to do something, she does it and she does it very well.”
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