Athlete Spotlight: SU volleyball player Ashleigh Tanis
Posted: October 30, 2012
Shenandoah University 21-year-old sophomore
Position: Right side
Parents: Maryann and Jim Tanis
Hometown: Stephens City
High School: Sherando (Class of 2010)
Major: Kinesiology and teaching
Nickname: My coaches and teammates call me “Ash” and my family calls me “Ash Bug”. My first volleyball coach Lena Berger gave me the nickname of “Crusher” because I had an unstoppable overhand serve in middle school. She still calls me that today when I get kills.
When did you start playing volleyball: I started playing my seventh grade year. I couldn’t underhand serve, I could only serve overhand because I played softball and my P.E. teacher’s wife coached our eighth grade team and he told me to tryout, so I did.
What you love about volleyball: I just love the competitiveness an the intensity. Whenever we score everyone gets excited and I just love the rush. It’s just awesome.
Biggest strength and weakness in volleyball: My biggest strength is probably my blocking with reading the hitters. Just reading their arm swing to know which area of the court they’re going to hit the ball. My biggest weakness is I tend to get down on myself when I mess up and I’ve been really working on just staying positive and staying focused on what I have to do for the next play.
Sport you always wanted to try: If I was a boy I’d probably play football, probably running back. I watch football with my dad every Sunday so it’s something I’d like to do.
Most memorable moment in volleyball: For SU it would have been last year when we played Methodist and they were seeded above us [in the USA South tournament] and we beat them on their home court. The energy and the excitement that our team had, we just played so well. I was so proud of my team.
Most embarrassing moment in volleyball: In seventh grade the first time I tried to hit the ball, my coach tossed it and I went to hit it and I completely missed it and it hit me right on the head.
Favorite athlete: [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning. I think he’s a great leader on and off the field.
Favorite sports team: North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team. I love the way they play basketball and I think Roy Williams is a great coach.
Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: [Actress] Betty White, [actor] Denzel Washington and [actress] Kristen Wiig. I just think Betty White is hilarious and I’d love to meet someone like that who’s 90, because I think that’s awesome. Kristen Wiig is also hilarious, I watched her on SNL and Bridesmaids and she’s just so funny. And Denzel Washington is my favorite actor.
Favorite Quote: “God has not given us the spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” First Timothy 1:7
Favorite subject in school: Probably sports nutrition. It’s very challenging, but it’s interesting to know as an athlete what I should and shouldn’t be putting in my body.
What’s on the iPod: Lots of country and 90s stuff like Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync.
Plans after college: I would love to be a P.E. teacher and a volleyball coach, either middle school or high school. I’m the assistant coach at [Robert E. Aylor] Middle School, just trying to get experience.
— Compiled by Kevin Trudgeon