Ruff anchors Cassopolis defense
Published 4:27 pm Friday, May 9, 2014
The Cassopolis Rangers girls’ soccer program started out the season with the monumental task of replacing two all-state players, Jessica Waldschmidt and Meagan Ruff, who were lost to graduation, as well as the departure of standout forward Jaleesa Garner, who transferred to Brandywine.
The trio combined for 72-goals last season, or roughly four-fifths of the Rangers’ offensive production last season.
With the firepower that was the lynchpin of the Rangers’ successes on the pitch last year gone, the focal point on the field for Cass has switched from attack to defend.
Enter junior sweeper Madeline Ruff.
Known to her coaches and teammates simply as “Maddie,” Ruff, the younger sister of the aforementioned standout Meagan, is the anchor that keeps the Ranger defense in line, and essentially, Cass’ season aspirations afloat.
“She is my field general,” said Ranger coach Oli Olafsson. “The way she views the game, what’s happening in front and around her; it comes naturally. She can see the play as it’s developing and consistently gets herself into position to make something happen. You really can’t say enough about Maddie.”
Following in the footsteps of a wildly successful older sibling is not always the easiest of feats to perform. However, Ruff’s head coach is adamant in his insistence that Madeline’s only interest is in doing whatever is necessary to help the Rangers be successful on the field.
“They are two entirely different people (Madeline and Meagan). Maddie is more measured than her sister; she understands her individual game, and very rarely plays outside of her abilities. Meagan could turn a game on its side in a matter of seconds, by herself, but Maddie excels at doing whatever it takes to grind out a win,” Olafsson said.
“She will be a really important piece for us this year; and we also have the luxury of being able to build around her for the future. We’re very lucky to have her here.”