Ross was born in Costa Mesa, California to Glen and Margie Ross. She has a sister, Amy.
Ross grew up in Newport Beach, California where she attended Newport Harbor High School. At NHHS, in addition to lettering in track, she was a star indoor volleyball player, eventually becoming the nation's top recruit for her graduating class. She won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award as a senior and was the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999. In her senior season, she notched 624 kills and 526 digs. She played club volleyball for Orange County Volleyball Club for five years. She also played on the U.S. Junior National Team. She is 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) tall.