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Samantha Russo

Samantha  Russo

Year: Senior
Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Position: Forward

Entering this season, you have been named as a Landmark Conference first-team selection three times, while helping the Royals to three consecutive conference titles. What did you leave yourself to accomplish as a senior? 

I would love to be a part of a team that has won the Landmark Conference four consecutive years. Making it further into the NCAA Tournament would also be amazing for my senior year. On a personal level, I would really like to earn NCSAA All-American honors. Chelsea Paskman ’11, my teammate freshman year, earned it and I would like to receive that same honor.

The Royals have advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament three consecutive years, but have fell in first-round heartbreakers the last two seasons. How difficult were those losses?

Both NCAA Division III Tournament losses came in overtime and were extremely difficult to take. This year’s loss was particularly hard because it came down to penalty kicks and it really makes the loss that much more personal.

What do you have to do as a team to get back to the tournament in 2013?

I think this year’s team is going to surprise our opponents. We lost our starting defense to graduation, but there are a lot of talented players who will now have the opportunity to step up. I have a lot of confidence that we can make it back to the tournament again.  

In summer 2012, the women’s soccer team took a 10-day trip to Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, playing several friendly matches against local clubs. How did that experience abroad benefit the team?

Spending the time together in Europe was incredible for us as a team. It really gave us a chance to bond and get to know each other even better. The friendly matches gave us the unique opportunity to meet athletes from other countries. We played our games and then spent some time getting to know them off the field as well.

What’s the most difficult part of traveling with an entire team?

The women’s soccer team gets along so well that there really are no problems for us traveling together.  

Entering this season, your 22 career goals rank you in a tie for 15th place all time at Scranton. What’s the key to getting a good shot on goal?  

The key to getting a good shot on goal is being patient and waiting for the right opportunity. However, when you see an opening, it’s important to seize the opportunity and take the shot without hesitating.

You were also a prolific scorer in high school, notching 71 goals and 34 assists. What’s the difference between a good high school player and a good collegiate player?

College athletics is much more demanding than high school athletics. You have to be able to manage your time effectively so that you can succeed both in the classroom and on the field. The athletes on a college team are all equally passionate and competitive about soccer, whereas some high school athletes really just play for fun.

What is your worst sports-related injury? How did it affect you?

I have been extremely fortunate in that my worst injury has only been a bad sprain. It was extremely frustrating to have to sit and watch my team play without me. I have so much respect for my teammates who have overcome much more and worked to get themselves back into playing condition.

What is the most challenging academic course you’ve taken at Scranton?

As an exercise science major, I would have to say that my core science courses like chemistry and physics have given me the biggest challenges.

Why did you decide to attend Scranton? Has your time here been what you expected?

I was interested in Scranton because of the reputation of its exercise science/physical therapy program and because I was accepted with a guaranteed seat into the doctorate program. In addition, spending a night with the soccer team when I was a high school senior made me realize that Scranton was where I belong. The sense of community that I witnessed from the team and the student population I met was amazing. My parents picked me up the next day and I told them that I had made my decision. I have really enjoyed my time at Scranton!

What is your favorite place on campus?

The Dionne Campus Green is such a pretty place on campus. When the weather is sunny, it’s nice to see everyone out there enjoying being outside. It gives the campus a really friendly feelingWhat musician do you tell people is your favorite? Who is your actual favorite musician?

Who was your favorite athlete growing up?

My favorite athlete growing up was definitely Mia Hamm. I had her posters all over my room and even wore her uniform number in high school. 

What musician do you tell people is your favorite? Who is your actual favorite musician?

I don’t really have a favorite musician. I like all genres of music.

Tell us one thing only friends and family know about you.

I love to watch old episodes of “Friends” and “Gilmore Girls.” I think I can recite the lines right along as I watch.

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