Friday, May 3, 2013

Mano e Mano With: Mahopac Senior Ross Thompson

By Zach Smart

Ross Thompson is a senior attackman for the Mahopac Indians, who’ve ripped off two straight following a debilitating one-goal loss to Putnam Valley. Thompson drilled a game-winning straightaway shot with four seconds remaining, lifting the Indians (7-5) to a pulsating 9-8 OT win over Hen Hud on May 2.

After earning All-Section as a junior, Thompson weighed his NCAA stock at a variety of lacrosse showcases this summer.

Proving his worth at the Elite 180, National Invitational 175, Good To Great, and the Peak 200, Thompson developed a rapport with Connecticut College head coach Dave Cornell. Thompson decided on CT College because of its academic prestige, a tight-knit lacrosse culture, and the team’s current winning environment in the NECSAC. The Camels are currently 12-3 overall, shouldering an 8-2 record in conference play.

The sheer leadership and motivational tactics of Cornell, who has tapped in to the local tri-state market, helped Thompson choose CT College over Quinnipiac, Dickinson, Amherst, and Dartmouth.

Thompson’s evasive playmaking (25 goals and 40 assists in 2012), quick rips at the net, and ability to finish in traffic have been molded by the likes of his brother (former Mahopac middie Chase Thompson) and the Rabidou twins.

 Jordan and Ryan Rabidou, the former Somers standouts known for their careers at Loyola (Maryland), trained the Thompsons at a religious pace.

The Rabidous worked out Chase and Ross, orchestrating a series of long backyard lax battles that all four of them remember vividly.

 Committed to helping Ross refine every facet of his game, the twins that have been instrumental in his development still keep in constant contact with him.

“They are pretty much like brothers to Chase and I,” Thompson explained.

We chewed the fat with Ross Thompson about a Mahopac May, the playoff hunt, and the team’s collective desire to make up for last year’s frustrating flameout in the Section 1 title game.

On Keys To Mahopac’s Win Over Hen Hud

“We really just pressed out on defense, we caused a lot of turnovers. Hen Hud’s faceoff guy (Matt Ledwin) is really good, he’s going to Hopkins so we knew to put a lot of pressure on him. Offensively, we reaped the rewards of constant movement and getting open away from the ball. We we’re moving around finally, our offense has been kind of stagnant in recent games so it was great to get everyone moving around. We like to run a lot of freestyle plays. Dodging, cutting on the backside, knowing where we are on the field, that’s kind of our style and it worked in our favor today.”

On His Most Improved Teammate

(Senior) Nick Oliver, 100 percent. Last year he didn’t really play a whole lot of offense, but he’s really come into his own this season. He worked his tail off in the off-season, made a constant commitment to lifting and working out and its really paid off. He’s really just having an excellent season. He’s really just ruthless, scoring so many goals and getting his shot off. Of course, (senior) Tyler (Weisberg) has been giving us our steady goals, and I think that our defense, has stepped up and has been playing relly well. Eric Donahue has really surprised a lot of people, he’s sort of filled the role of James Schiera by scooping up ground balls. All in all, we’ve had a lot of guys step up and really elevate their game.”

On Turning Up The May Heat

“The next couple of games are huge, especially because we don’t have any let down games. We all have great teams down the stretch, so we really want to show the Section that we could do something. After we got blown out by Yorktown, we are really starting to show people we’re for real and ready to prove we’re ready to play…I just think we’re going to have to come to practice every day and execute and sustain the good things, we will be fine in Class A. We will see what happens against Lakeland/Panas, they are always going to show up. It’s always a big game between Mahopac and Lakeland/Panas. We’ve got a big test coming up in Bronxville, as they’ve got a very tough team and are a major contender to win Class C this year. I just think that if we play our best game in May, everything should come together.”

On Winning A Section Championship And Losing One

One day was the best day of my career, the other was by far the worst. I never want to experience losing like (last year) again. That loss has definitely stayed with us. I can still see Mamaroneck throwing their sticks in the air and celebrating. We know we owe it to ourselves and we owe them from last year.”

On The Player He Emulates

“I definitely patterned my game around my brother, Chase. Playing with the Rabidous, they would always make my brother and I compete against each other, games where the winner would get rewarded. I think our passing and our shot is kind of the same. I used to watch Chase’s highlights. Our passing and catching is very similar, it’s hard to explain but he is definitely who I learned to play like.