By Scott Taylor
Plainfield Central’s Ashley Shook concluded her illustrious high school career recently by being one of 24 high school players to compete in the Under Armour All-America Match in Columbus, OH on Dec. 16.
“It was awesome,” Shook said. “It meant a lot. The teams I have played on have been successful and it helped me be successful. It was an honor and I was happy to play and represent my school and town.”
Shook was on the East squad, which lost 3-0 to the West squad and MVP Lexi Sun, a future teammate of Shook’s at the University of Texas.
“It was an honor to play against a future teammate,” Shook said. “We lost, but West had some better terminators and touch skills. It was fun, even though I wasn’t a big fan of losing.”
The East squad had three setters on the team and ran a 6-2 system. In the first set Shook was both a setter and hitter and in the third set she set in her rotation.
“I did okay,” Shook said. “It was definitely a challenge playing with girls I haven’t played with before. We had basically two practices before the match. It was neat to see how we interacted with each other.”
Playing in a big environment is nothing new to Shook, who has played in national club championships in the past.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” she said.”Some were freaking out, but I felt confident. I’ve played in front of a lot of people before.”
The match was played the off day between the NCAA Final Four. Texas was one of the teams in the Final Four and advanced to the championship before falling to Stanford.
“It was really cool to be able to experience that and I hope to be back there the next four years,” Shook said. “It was great to see them sweep Nebraska. I want to work with them to get back to the championship next year.”
The Longhorns fell in the championship game the past two years and are known as one of the nation’s volleyball powerhouses.
“I am very excited,” Shook said about signing with Texas. “I am very thankful to have the opportunity to go to the school and hope we can continue to be successful and keep the tradition.”
The setter this past year at Texas was a senior, so there is an opening for Shook to potentially come in and make an immediate impact on the Longhorns, who just have a freshman setter returning.
“I am hoping to play right away but will do whatever it takes to help the team,” Shook said.
Perhaps the most amazing thing of Shook’s rapid ascension was how she didn’t start playing volleyball competitively till the sixth grade. Just three years later, she was a freshman setter on the varsity team at Plainfield Central.
“I went to a couple of camps in elementary school, but it wasn’t until after fifth grade when I started to really play and it was one of the best decisions I have made,” Shook said. “What helped me was being involved in so many different sports and everything I did prior to that.”
Between the Longhorn Network and ESPN, there should be ample opportunity for Plainfield residents to watch her compete in college.