They say that the final product of anything is only as good as the individual components that make up the final product. In the world of Iowa High School volleyball, there’s currently a fantastic product on the court in the form of the Dallas Center-Grimes Fillies. DC-G was off to the races to begin the 2018 season with a program best 17 straight wins to start the season and a regular season mark of 32-4.
One of those crucial components to the winning formula has been senior star and team co-captain Hannah Ashley. Ashley has been a member of the Fillie volleyball team all four years of high school and has been an integral part ever since she stepped onto the volleyball court. Through DC-G’s first postseason game in 2018, Ashley has accounted for 299 career kills, 168 career digs, 59 career aces, and 38 career blocks. Ashley has more than proven herself to be the embodiment of what has made the 2018 senior group so special in the eyes of head coach Cheryl Voelker.
“Hannah has always been a strong volleyball player with a great mind for the game and great athleticism,” began Voelker. “She’s been one of our more consistent players in almost every fashion whether it’s been consistent improvement from years past, or consistent serving, Hannah’s been a very consistent player.”
What has been a consistently good season for Ashley in her senior season was highlighted on senior night where she dominated Norwalk for 31 successful serves and five of the team’s seven aces for the night.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior night,” said Ashley after the senior night match-up. “It really captured what this team has been doing in a nutshell all season long. This team is so resilient and that’s kept us going so strong this season and will keep us going strong in the postseason.”
Hannah Ashley herself could very well be described as resilient, a quality that will not be forgotten in the world of DC-G volleyball.
“It will be tough to lose a special player like Hannah,” began coach Voelker. “She had a sister, Lauren, who played and it will be the last of the sister pairs for the time being. She’s a big part of what makes DC-G volleyball not only so successful, but so fun to be a part of.”
Ashley has always been a student of the game just as much as an athlete of the game and she was always looking for ways to get better which included conversations with her sister.
“The great thing about having a sister on the same team no matter what year you are, is that you have someone who knows you so well and can help you get that much better,” said Hannah. “It was cool to be teammates with her for a year and I think that helped me grow as a volleyball player as well.”
Being athletic, competitive, and an excellent teammate has always been synonymous with the likes of Hannah Ashley and it all began at a young age.
“Hannah’s athleticism and competitiveness showed quite early in life for her,” began Mother Lisa Ashley. “Her first time participating in athletics was actually flag football because she was so competitive. She would compete with players who might have been bigger than her but she went toe to toe with everyone. The great thing is at the end of the day, she’d make friends with everybody she played against which showed her great attitude.”
Hannah’s love for the game of volleyball sparked well before the fourth grade where she dreamt of one day stepping on the volleyball court.
“I wanted to play volleyball two years before I was actually able to join,” said Ashley. “I’d go to tournaments and just watch club games and cheer for our teams and be as much a part of the sport as I possibly could at the time.”
Once she joined the club volleyball scene it would be off to the races from there. Hannah immersed herself in the game and made her way up through the ranks as quick as she could, impressing a lot of people along the way.
“After Hannah really started to get used to the game and start to get a rhythm, she improved her game really quick,” said Lisa Ashley. “It was like she was born to play the game of volleyball and there were a lot of people who could see that.”
It was in those years playing club ball that Hannah mentioned how she felt she refined her skills which are currently being displayed on the high school varsity volleyball court.
“In club ball, it’s a time where you can really refine your skills and develop your overall game more than you can during the high school season,” said Hannah. “You just get a larger volume of repetitions and by the time the school season comes around, that’s the time to show off your skills and your improvement.”
Along with that however, Hannah was quick to mention just how important playing at the varsity high school level can be, and what her high school coaches have meant to her.
“Playing volleyball in high school can be challenging but I feel that with the help of my coaches, things haven’t felt overwhelming,” began Hannah. “Coach Voelker is so positive and has a great outlook on the sport that it really helps players. She’s really helped me mentally, to stay focused even during the not so good nights.”
There’s been no doubt over the last few years just how focused of an individual Hannah Ashley is and as she exits her senior year at DC-G high school, that intense focus and drive will soon be directed in a different avenue. After high school, Ashley plans to attend Iowa State University and major in criminal justice, something that’s called to her for quite some time.
“I chose Iowa State because of their great criminal justice program and I chose that degree because there’s too much negative in this world and I want to do my part to change that,” said Hannah.
Hannah will continue her senior volleyball campaign with the rest of the Fillie volleyball team as they welcome in conference foe Norwalk for the Class 4A region three title game on Monday, October 29.