Recorder file photo Amsterdam's Andrew Rouse slides into home plate head first beating the tag from Albany catcher Liam Owens to tie the game in the sixth inning during their game on Wednesday afternoon at FMCC.
Recorder file photo Amsterdam's Monica Rouse lines up a shot during an August 2013 soccer practice at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Recorder file photo Amsterdam shortstop Andrew Rouse dives for a line drive during the Rams' against La Salle Institute on Friday afternoon at F-MCC.
By ADAM SHINDER
Growing up as twin brother and sister, Amsterdam's Andrew and Monica Rouse were about as close as can be.
When they head to college to continue their academic and athletic careers, they'll finally be separated -- though not by much.
Both Rouses recently made their college decisions, with Andrew choosing to play baseball at Division I Marist College in Poughkeepsie and Monica deciding to continue her soccer career at SUNY New Paltz. The two campuses are on opposite sides of the Hudson River, separated by a mere 13 miles -- a 21-minute drive, according to the good folks at Google Maps -- and that proximity was important to both siblings.
"My reason for going to New Paltz is for the soccer opportunity, the education opportunity, and because my brother is only going to be 10 minutes down the road," Monica Rouse said. "That's what I really wanted. I wanted to be close to him."
Andrew Rouse, The Recorder's Co-Player of the Year for the 2013 baseball season, settled on Marist over Siena College and Ithaca College. Marist, however, has been a long-held favorite of his.
That was helped thanks to his family's relationship with the Amsterdam Mohawks -- his father, Barry, runs the team's on-field promotions -- where there is traditionally a contingent of a couple Red Foxes players on the roster every summer.
"Going out and watching the Mohawks, there's been a lot of Marist guys playing there," Andrew said. "It's a familiar name, it's a beautiful campus, it will provide a great education for me and I just love it there."
He also said that his relationship with Mohawks president and Amsterdam High School baseball coach Brian Spagnola, who has a longstanding relationship with Marist players and staff, was an advantage in terms of forging a connection.
"It definitely helps me knowing Brian, and practicing with the Mohawks is practicing with them, too," he said. "It's like getting another college experience, just earlier."
Spagnola praised Rouse's hustle and baseball acumen, the results of which paid off in a game last week against Albany when the senior shortstop scored from second base on an infield single to tie the game. Those kind of plays, Spagnola said, give Rouse a leg up at the next level.
"That's what is going to make him a successful player at the college level," Spagnola said.
For Monica Rouse, a three-year soccer star at AHS -- both she and Andrew were also varsity basketball players -- what she called a "stressful" decision came down to SUNY New Paltz and St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
"I loved both schools, and I could see myself playing for both," she said.
Ultimately, the athletic and academic opportunities at New Paltz and the proximity to her brother swayed her decision, as did a longstanding relationship with Hawks coach Colleen Bruley -- whose husband, Rob Bruley, is Monica's longtime club soccer coach with Capital United.
"She was very welcoming to me when I didn't really know where I wanted to go yet," Monica Rouse said. "She always helped me, she's always been there for me to talk. She's just a really good coach."
For both Rouse siblings, getting their college decisions out of the way after a long, laborous process was rewarding -- and for Andrew, it takes away one more concern on his mind as his senior baseball season enters the homestretch.
"It gets the weight off your chest," he said. "But, you've still got to go out and perform to get a 'W.'"
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