Athlete Spotlight: Shenandoah volleyball player Ashley Thompson

Shenandoah volleyball player Ashley Thompson

Shenandoah University 21-year-old senior

Sport: Volleyball. Position: Outside hitter

Parents: Mark and Candace Thompson

Hometown: Burke (Lake Braddock High School). Major: Kinesiology

What do you love about volleyball: The teamwork and intensity of a really great game.

Most memorable moment in volleyball: My last-ever club game [with Braddock Road Youth Club), senior year of high school, I had played with the same 10 girls since seventh grade, and we were playing our rival team. I won the game with an ace. It went to three sets (best-of-three) and it was past 15 points in the third set. We came together in a huge huddle after it was over. It was just really, really amazing. I have it on video. The moment is still emotional to this day to look back on it on video.

Most embarrassing moment in volleyball: I’m not the tallest player (5 feet, 6 inches), but I jump pretty well. Sometimes when we play against girls who are really tall I can watch them hit right over my head, and I can’t really do anything about it. But those games just kind of inspire me to train harder and jump higher.

Most difficult moment in volleyball: When we are playing a team that’s really good, it’s coming together as a team to figure out, ‘How can we find the weaknesses on the other side of the court and really work together to win that game?’ Whether it’s finding their weak spots or finding their weak players, you have to use your skills to find a way to win that game. Every game is different, every opponent is different, and you’ve got to figure out how to beat that team.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Karch Kiraly; he’s one of the most famous volleyball players of all time, and he’s really inspirational. [Former T.C. Williams football] coach Herman Boone (portrayed in the movie “Remember the Titans”); he really inspired me because I want to be a coach one day. The way he really brought his team together is something I’d really like to do one day, and take some of his really good points he has as a coach. I played against T.C. Williams in high school, and I’ve been to their school and I’ve seen the real-life photos in the school they actually played at. And Robin Williams; because he’s such an amazing and influential actor in a bunch of childhood movies that I love to watch to this day.

Biggest athletic influence: Derek Jeter. I think he was a really good role model as an all-around athlete on the Yankees, and he was a really good team player.

Favorite teacher or professor: My advisor at Shenandoah, Dr. Philip Liversedge. He’s very knowledgeable and always gives me the best feedback on assignments so I can become the best teacher I can be one day. He’s also really funny.

Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter

Favorite sports team: New York Yankees

Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”

Favorite TV show: “Big Brother”

Favorite song: “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock

Favorite food: My mom’s homemade pasta salad

Worst thing you’ve eaten: When I was younger my friends tricked me into eating wasabi when I thought it was avocado. It was really bad.

Plans after college: I plan to get a teaching job in Fairfax County and hopefully coach volleyball at whichever school I end up. I would love to go back and teach at my old high school Lake Braddock. I love everything about the sport of volleyball. I really want to inspire young girls to find the love in the sport, and the fun of being on such a great team. The fun of just playing a sport and working hard together is really fun for me, from the player side and the coaching perspective.

Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki

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