By Pat Turner
Ashley Hu has a dream job on the volleyball court.
As a setter, the Clark’s senior’s duties consist of running the offense and getting the ball to a teammate who can smash the ball through for a kill. In the situation with the Cougars, that’s like going through a buffet line full of goodies. After all, there’s a variety of options to choose from in a lineup featuring Kara McGhee (325 kills) and her sister Elise (130 kills), along with Grace Gibson (17 kills), Taylor McDonough (95 kills), Micayla Reiland (80 kills), MacKenzie Wolff (64 kills) and Kyleigh Garett (57 kills).
“I love my job,” Hu said. “It’s so exciting having so many hitters. It makes my job easier. Every single one of them is fantastic.”
What makes the job more enjoyable is the success Clark (32-3,7-0) is creating while leaping to the top of District 28-6A. While putting together a perfect league record, the Cougars have recorded sweeps in all the matches. A big reason is the way the offense is flowing.
“Being on varsity for three years I know these girls,” Hu said. “I’ve gotten to know those who are just starting on varsity, too. Chemistry is so important. We have great team chemistry. I try to command the offense. The best way is communicating. They know what I expect, and I know what they expect.”
Hu has grown into her role the past three years on varsity. Not only is she on the same page with her teammates, the senior has the calm demeanor to keep things on an even keel, especially during pressure situations.
“I feel like I have improved a lot,” Hu said. “I understand the game a lot better. I understand what the hitters need and what the coaches expect from me.
“My coaches and teammates have helped me build my confidence. That has made this year different.”
Clark coach Melissa Miller sees the difference whenever Hu is on the court.
“Ashley is super important to our team,” Miller said. “She can do so much. She does a great job of getting her teammates the ball. She keeps her composure. She is very steady, very steadfast. She knows when to go to a certain hitter and when not to go. She is really good about reading the other side of the net. She trusts all the hitters and has a great relationship with all of them.”
Hu’s goal now is to make sure the good times continue. The second round of district play begins this week and if Clark intends to maintain the top spot, the setter knows the Cougars need to be at their best.
“We have to keep focused on every little thing,” Hu said. “That means from practice to sets to matches. We have to take it one game at a time and not just look at the big picture.”