Hometown Bond

By Alyssa Casalino for WVUsports.com
September 26, 2012 12:03 PM
One of the most important aspects in playing a group sport is having chemistry with your teammates. Many athletes have said that they are more likely to perform well when playing with people they can consider their friends; it can make fierce competition feel like fun.

Sometimes, people are lucky enough to play their favorite sport with some of their best friends for four straight years of either college or high school. When it’s even longer than that, the bond can become stronger. Spending countless hours together can really bring athletes closer together, on the field and off.

West Virginia sophomores Whitney Cavender and Ashley Ramsey took their friendship, as well as their talents, from University High in Morgantown and brought them to WVU’s women’s soccer team – and they’re not done yet.

Cavender and Ramsey shared something in common long before they became friends; they both started playing soccer at a very early age. Cavender began around age seven, while Ramsey was introduced to the sport in kindergarten. Both played other sports, but felt their best on a soccer field. Ramsey’s mother, Cindy, who played collegiate soccer at NC State, encouraged her to play soccer and was her coach for a period of time.

Deciding to come to WVU was an easy decision for both of the University High graduates.

“I was set on West Virginia from the beginning,” Cavender said, who was born and raised in Morgantown, and did not want to leave her family. WVU’s exercise physiology program also grabbed her interest.

“I was looking at some other schools originally,” Ramsey said, “but then I decided WVU was the best option for me. It has a really good soccer program and it’s close to my home. It’s easy to go home and visit my family.”

Cavender could not be more happy with her high school teammate’s decision to attend WVU.

“I knew of Ashley in seventh or eighth grade. During her freshman year, I was a sophomore. Playing through high school and on club soccer teams together before college was really helpful. We both know the way the other one plays. Also, just knowing someone here was nice because I never felt like I was alone.”

Ramsey likes the convenience factor and enjoys having the best of both worlds in Morgantown; a great college experience and her family down the road. On Mondays, the women’s soccer team has a mandatory off day and Ramsey likes to go watch her little brother play football.

As with most student-athletes, Cavender and Ramsey have very little free time. The little time that they do have, however, they generally spend together. On the field, they’re teammates. Off the field, they’re roommates. The two live with another Mountaineer women’s soccer player, Sami Molina, and say that most of their downtime is dedicated to hanging out at their apartment and with friends they don’t get to see as often outside of soccer.

This past summer, the girls found themselves around each other more and more.

“Sometimes we go out on our own and practice together,” Cavender said. “This summer, we played in a league with people of all ages. We also picked some programs on our own throughout the summer, but we always went together so we could have the other person there.”

“Some people on our summer league actually played for WVU previously,” Ramsey added. “We’d go there and shoot around and work on our dribbling. We’d also play pick-up games with other people we knew from high school.”

In high school, Cavender and Ramsey were four-year letterwinners. Cavender was named the Gatorade West Virginia Girls Soccer Player of the Year in 2010. In 2009, she was named the state’s AAA Girls Forward of the Year as well as the North Central Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

In 2010, Ramsey was named WV Sports Writer’s Player or the Year and WV Midfielder of the Year. She ended her high school career with 68 goals and 50 assists.

This talented pair has been recognized for many achievements. With so much attention throughout their four years of high school, it’s interesting that they both immediately agreed on what their favorite accomplishment was: winning a state championship. Other than that, they’ll tell you that many of their favorite memories were made off the field, just having fun and bonding with their team.

The most exciting memory they have during their time spent at WVU thus far has been beating No. 1-ranked Stanford earlier this season. Ramsey is particularly looking forward to playing TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, this season, as she has family in Texas that will be there to support her.

Once she graduates with her exercise physiology degree, Cavender is looking into doing something with either physical therapy or pharmacy work. Ramsey is a business major and would like to go into marketing.

For the time being, they are looking to forward to spending more time together on the soccer field and making the best of their time left together at WVU.

The women’s soccer team resumes Big 12 action with its first conference road match at TCU on Sept. 28.

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