After weighing her options, Virden’s Carmen Ross decided to pursue her post-secondary athletic and academic career at what she calls “a near-perfect place for me to go.”
The daughter of Glenn Ross and Lea McPherson- Ross has committed to play volleyball and study at Brandon University. She will become the first Virden Collegiate Institute athlete to play volleyball for the Bobcats. BU competes in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the highest level in Canada.
“It gives me a chance to play in Canada West, the toughest conference, while allowing me to stay close to home and play in front of my friends and family members,” Ross wrote in an email interview. “Brandon has always had a strong program and does well despite being such a small institution.”
BU head coach Lee Carter coached Ross on Team Manitoba at the Western Canada Games last year and, as an assistant coach, for two seasons with the Cats Volleyball Club. Carter is pleased to have Ross join his team. He described the 5-foot-11 outside hitter as “very eager to get better and learn.” “She is a powerful athlete,” Carter said. “She hits a pretty hard ball. She comes at it very hard.”
Ross is looking forward to once again playing for Carter.
“I admire his coaching style and how he stays calm but will always say what needs to be said to rally his teams,” she wrote.
At Brandon University, Ross will pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is considering majoring in sociology.
One factor that drew Carter to recruit Ross was that she was a multisport athlete. She plays softball and also excels in basketball. Ross is also involved in drama and music. In 2010, Carmen and Lea Ross teamed up to write a story that placed in the top 10 of the ABC Literacy’s Munsch At Home Contest. University volleyball and basketball coaches expressed interest in her joining their programs. Ross acknowledged that volleyball has always been her favourite sport.
“I love how it showcases a variety of athletic abilities including power, stamina, and agility. And, of course, one of the best feelings in the world is the rush I get whenever I get a big kill or a block. My decision to stay in Brandon did not happen overnight but I am very happy with my choice.”
At VCI, Ross helped the Golden Bears win AAA provincial championships in both basketball and volleyball. Steve Densmore coached her at VCI and believes she possesses the size, strength, and intangibles to play at the next level.
“Carmen is a very dedicated athlete to the game of volleyball,” Densmore wrote in an email interview. “She always works hard and never relies on excuses. Carmen knows the game so you can get her to try things easier and she picks up on new ideas and uses them to her advantage. She is a very coachable player, adapts well to every situation. Every coach should get the chance to coach a Carmen.”
Ross stated that her family has been amazingly supportive of her volleyball career.
“My parents met each other playing volleyball, and they have loved watching their kids play sports. They rarely miss games and are disappointed if they have to! My brother (Devin) and sister (Adelyn) were huge influences on me growing up, as it was watching them play sports when I was younger that inspired me to become an athlete as well.”
Carter said that Ross will have an opportunity to contribute as a firstyear player but will not be expected to be the goto player they hope she develops into later in her career.
“Next year, BU’s team will have a lot of veteran players, so I am not expecting to get much playing time,” Ross wrote. “It will be a year to train hard and gain experience playing at a new level. I greatly admire the senior players that will be my teammates and consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from them.”