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DeRosa ’22 reflects on canceled women's lacrosse season

Attacker, assistant team captain was second on team in goals, shots before cancelation

Sophia DeRosa ’22 was scorching her sophomore campaign as an attacker and assistant team captain on the women's lacrosse team when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the season to an abrupt end. On March 12, the Ivy League released a joint statement canceling all athletics for the remainder of the year, The Herald previously reported

In her first season, DeRosa ranked fifth on the Bears in goals and points and tallied six multi-point games. At the close of her sophomore year, she stood fourth in assists and second in goals, shots and shots on goal. DeRosa also posted four multi-point games in the seven-game season. In the final contest of the season, she helped the Bears to a 13-11 victory over Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Before coming to Brown, DeRosa was U.S. Lacrosse 2018 National and Northeast Player of the Year, a member of Team USA’s U-19 training team, a New York State First Team All-State selection in 2018 and a four-time Long Island All-American Game selection. She was named to Newsday’s Top 100 High School Players List in 2017 and to Inside Lacrosse’s Women Power Top 100 Incoming Freshman list in 2018. For her accomplishments in her first two seasons on College Hill, DeRosa has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: What was your most memorable moment from this season?

DeRosa: Definitely the last game (against Virginia Tech). The moment before the last game was the most memorable in my entire sporting career. Knowing that your season is going to be over unexpectedly really puts into perspective all the times that you might not have wanted to run during practice or do this or that how now, you would really just do anything to have another practice, another game (and) another second. 

Now that you’ve had some time back at home, how are you feeling about the season?

I'm really proud of the way that everyone on our team handled (the remainder of the season being canceled). We were confused at first, but I don't think anyone's mad about it now, because (the COVID-19 pandemic) is getting way more serious than anyone thought it would. It’s definitely unfortunate, and we're going to really miss playing together. But we all know it's something that had to be done for a purpose bigger than lacrosse.

Was there time to do a formal send-off for the seniors?

I feel like (the seniors) definitely still got what they wanted out of Brown lacrosse, but the NCAA is extending a year of eligibility to all this year’s seniors, so they will have the opportunity to come back if they want. I feel for them I would hate to be in that position. It was especially hard because we were one of the only teams in the nation to have a game left to play after finding out that our season was canceled. It was difficult, but we're all really happy that we did ultimately have that opportunity. Our seniors specifically emphasized working really hard, leading by example and making sure we're really close knit. As a result, this team is really well connected. In that moment at the last game, everyone just said to the seniors that they had already done their job and left their legacy. 

Did winning the final game feel the same as winning a typical end-of-season game?

It was bittersweet because it shows how much strength our team has after how well we came back from a bad loss against Yale. It also showed just how much we really love each other, because we got that win for each other. Afterwards, it definitely felt almost anticlimactic, because then it was just over. We didn't really know how to handle it. It didn't feel real until we were all leaving campus.

To what extent has the team tried to coordinate virtually?

Our coaches have done a great job of making sure everyone is safe and on the same page. I made myself a work-out schedule. There’s a big new wave of stay-at-home challenges all throughout lacrosse right now, especially on Instagram. … It’s just different. ... Luckily, I can go to the high school to practice shooting, but if you can't get to a field, you can practice cradling and the hold of your stick. It’s always about being creative with how you can continue to get better, whatever the circumstances.

Back on campus, you started a club. Can you tell us more about jock-a-pella?

A few of my friends and I really liked to sing, and we tried out for a capella groups at Brown, but their schedules always conflicted with our sports. So my friend Amanda Cooper ’22 who plays field hockey and Jordan Torres ’22 from my team formed jock-a-pella. It accommodates our practice schedules, but other than that, it’s just a regular a capella group that sings the traditional sorts of songs.

You were weighing a lot of different college offers. How did you pick Brown?

Brown was the first school that I ever really liked. It was the first camp that I went to, with my best friend who now plays lacrosse at (University of Richmond). … I ended up going back to every single Brown camp throughout high school. I started talking to (Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00) about my interest in the summer of eighth grade. I wanted to attend a school that was really strong academically, as much as I wanted to play for a good lacrosse program. So, even though other schools were offering before Brown did, I always had my eye on Brown as a first choice. Once they offered, I committed.

What are you most looking forward to next season?

I'm really looking forward to the new sense of urgency our team is going to have. We lost four seniors that we really love and we have such a tight bond, but I think that the culture they've built is going to continue on for these next 10 incoming (first-years). Every single team has had their seniors taken away from them, so they're all going to be coming in with a new approach and new hunger. But the difference is that we've experienced actually playing a game knowing it's our last, and most other teams haven't. We were able to rally around each other. So I'm just really excited to see that and how it may be applied to every single game and practice we (have) going forward next year.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


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