Two sports? No problem for Valles

After attending a boarding school that required students to play three sports, it was no surprise that Gina Valles '11 decided to come to Roanoke College and play two.  A center midfielder on the soccer team and a midfielder on the lacrosse team, Valles has achieved great things in both sports, though her time on the lacrosse field has really made this player one to watch.

 "When she came into lacrosse here she burst on the scene," says Brad Moore, director of athletic communications. "She is so quick and her stick work is awesome."

Valles started in all 18 lacrosse games her first year at the College and was named Rookie of the Year in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Her accomplishments have only continued. She was named ODAC Player of the Year twice and was the first player in the Roanoke women's lacrosse program to be named First Team All American since 1999.

A two-time Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American, Valles racked up her fourth-straight, first-team all-conference accolade as she put up the seventh-highest single-season scoring total in NCAA Div. III history with 134 points. She finished her storied career ranked among the best in NCAA Div. III history in points (2nd), goals (5th), caused turnovers (7th), draw controls (8th) and groundballs (14th). This spring, she ranked among the national leaders in scoring (2nd), assists (8th), caused turnovers (10th), groundballs (7th) and goals (9th).

"When I came here, I never knew I could accomplish that," Valles says.

When Valles reflects on her time on the lacrosse team, it's not her personal accomplishments but the memories with her team that stand out the most. Winning the ODAC conference championship game against Washington and Lee University in 2009 as a team has been her favorite accomplishment.

 On and off the field, she is thankful for her relationship with Mary Schwartz, head women's lacrosse coach. "She cares about us as players but also as people," Valles says. "I look up to her as a mom and a coach."

"She has an incredible gift as an athlete," Schwartz says.  "I have never had the opportunity to coach such a talented player and I am thankful that she decided to come to Roanoke."

The player-coach relationship has left Valles hoping to become a lacrosse coach herself.

When asked for his thoughts on this two-sport player who is all-ODAC in both, Moore says, "We probably won't see another athlete like her for a long time."

-MEGAN SEMMELMAN '11


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