By SHAWN YORKS
Another Liberal Lady Redskin will continue her athletic career in the college ranks as LHS senior Ashlyn Westerman signed yesterday to play volleyball for Hutchinson Community College next year. Westerman said she knew as a junior that she would become a Lady Blue Dragon.
“When I went up to visit Hutch everything just kind of felt right,” Westerman said. “I really love the young coaching staff and the program.”
The Lady Blue Dragons of first-year coach Sarah Myers went 6-29 this past season. Westerman looks to be a huge part of rebuilding the program.
The location of the school is also a good fit for Westerman.
“It’s some distance away but it’s not too far, so my family can still watch me play for the first couple seasons in college,” she said. “Which really drew me to them.”
Westerman was one of Liberal’s top players, but she also credits her years playing club volleyball with getting her to this point — signing to play collegiate volleyball.
“Outside of my high school season, I think club is for the most part what made me the player that I am today,” she said. “That all kind of started playing with my sister. Our high school competition, it’s competitive. But then when we went to club season I was playing in the 18 year-old division as a 16 year-old.
“That kind of stuff is what (prepared) me for this.”
Ashlyn began playing club volleyball in middle school, and she was able to play alongside her sister Taryn both in club and her freshman year at LHS, when her sister was a senior.
Taryn now plays at Midwestern State (Texas).
Westerman is slated to be a setter at Hutchinson as the Lady Blue Dragons graduate sophomore setter Whitney Miller.
“It’s big shoes to fill but I’m excited,” she said. “Even not being a setter for very long, I’m nervous, but I’m ready to take it on.”
Westerman was named all-Western Athletic Conference for the third straight year and led Liberal to a 26-13 record this year, falling in the regional championship.
“It’s a proud feeling, it’s good to know that I can be one of the leaders in our conference,” Westerman said. “Even though we were so close the last couple years, I know that I can take what I did in our conference and take it to the Jayhawk West Conference.”
Liberal coach Thais Baziquetto is happy for Ashlyn and thinks she’ll do well at Hutch.
“I think she found a great fit in the junior college and the fact that they have a good program that she can move up to a good 4-year school,” Baziquetto said. “Hutch has a great tradition in volleyball. They are rebuilding their program, they lost their head coach, they’re starting a new program but I think she’s going to be a great player.”
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