There’s nothing like playing four years in the Darien High girls lacrosse program to prepare you for a successful college career.
That’s exactly what Katie Ramsay had in mind as the Blue Wave’s All-American midfielder prepares to embark on the next chapter of her lacrosse journey at the University of Southern California.
Of course, it was no secret where Ramsay would be playing next. After all, she committed to USC in the fall of her sophomore year at Darien.
But now that she’s less than two months away from officially joining the Women of Troy, the reality is beginning to hit her.
“I’m so excited. I just went to orientation out there and picked out all my classes,” Ramsay said Sunday from Vail, Colo., where she was playing in a national girls lacrosse tournament. “And I got all the classes I wanted, too, so I’m really excited about that.”
So why USC?
“It’s an amazing school with amazing athletic facilities and the people there are so nice and welcoming,” she said. “I’ve been there probably five or six times already so I know all the girls on the team and the coaches.”
Attending a USC football game during one of her recruiting trips didn’t hurt, either.
But there was another reason she was attracted to sunny southern California.
“It’s warm,” she said with a laugh. “Of course, the education I’m going to get there is top notch and I’m very excited about that.”
Ramsay has been accepted to the USC Marshall School of Business and plans to major in business administration.
The two-year starter was certainly all business when she was on the lacrosse field, playing a key role in the Blue Wave’s march to another FCIAC and state title her junior year and then repeating as FCIAC champs — Darien’s seventh straight — this past spring. The quest for a sixth state crown in a row, however, fell short with a 12-11 loss to rival New Canaan in the Class L semis, which also snapped the Wave’s 107-game winning streak against in-state opponents.
In all, Ramsay was part of a senior group that claimed four FCIAC championships, three state titles and was always among the top-ranked teams in the country throughout their four years in the DHS program.
Not a bad body of work.
“We’re very proud of that,” she said. “Obviously, all of us put a lot work in during the offseason and even though we didn’t take away that last state title, it can’t take away from everything we accomplished.”
Ramsay, who will be trading her Blue and White colors for cardinal and gold, will be going from one winning program to another. USC only started women’s lacrosse in 2011, but quickly established itself as a rising Division I team.
“Last year they were a top-10 team,” Ramsay noted. “This year was a bit of an offseason for them, but they were still a top-20 team.”
A year after going 18-4 and reaching the NCAA quarterfinals, the Trojans slipped to 10-8 this past season, but were still ranked as high as No. 20 in the country and advanced to the Pac-12 semifinals before losing 15-14 to eventual champion Stanford. USC missed the NCAA tournament after three consecutive trips, including the Elite Eight twice.
What’s more, head coach Lindsey Munday, who won five NCAA titles as a player and assistant coach at Northwestern, is 79-39 (.675) in her eight years as head coach at USC.
Darien head coach Lisa Lindley has no doubt Ramsay will fit right in.
“Katie has a lot of intangibles,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “She has height, she has speed and she definitely has a great work ethic. Plus she’s a great teammate. I think all those qualities (will benefit her) in a program like USC.
“Any player going from a high school program to a top Division I program has to make adjustments because everyone is bigger, stronger and faster. But I have no doubt Katie will be able to make those adjustments.”
Besides her midfield skills, Ramsay’s strength on faceoffs could also earn her playing time as early as next season.
“I know they have their top draw player returning, but that will be good practice for me and make me better,” Ramsay said. “It’s kind of like playing lacrosse at Darien. You’re playing the best players in practice so you’re going to get better.”
“That’s Katie’s maturity in terms of recognizing there are others before you,” Lindley pointed out. “But she’ll work hard and learn and get herself in position so when she’s called upon she’ll be ready.”
Just like she did at Darien.
“Katie and Hollis Perticone (Class of 2014) were two of the best draw people to come through our program,” Lindley added. “Katie single-handedly turned games around for us and I anticipate she’ll contribute that part of her game to USC right away.
“Plus Katie was a three-sport athlete at Darien (soccer and basketball) and her lacrosse game will only rise now that she won’t be playing two other sports.”
Ramsay, meanwhile, credits Lindley for preparing her for the college game.
“Coach Lindley is an amazing coach and I really couldn’t be where I am without her,” she said. “She gave us a lot of opportunities to get better and the confidence to do the best we can.”
Now she’ll be bringing that confidence with her out west.
“Moving date is Aug. 15, but I still have a lot of lacrosse to play before that.”
Indeed, after the tournament in Colorado this week, Ramsay will take part in the Under Armour All-American North-South game in Baltimore next week.
It won’t be long, though, before Katie Ramsay, who was part of so many great moments at Darien, begins making new memories as a member of the USC women’s lacrosse team.