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Meredith Ashy, then-sophomore libero, receives a serve from Central Michigan in a match last season. Ohio won outright to secure the MAC regular season title.

Junior libero aims at all-time stat, consistently anchors ’Cat back line

Oftentimes, the libero is overlooked when talking about the success of a volleyball team.

Oftentimes, the libero is overlooked when talking about the success of a volleyball team.

This is not the case for Ohio, as a lot of the credit and accolades they receive offensively all start with their junior libero Meredith Ashy. 

As the libero, Ashy is often responsible for the start of the Bobcats attack while also stamping out the offensive attack of the opponent.

In Ashy, Ohio has one of the most dependable players along the back line in all of college volleyball. The intriguing part of it is that Ashy has only been playing the position for a handful of years.

“I started really late actually,” Ashy said. “I started my junior year of high school. I was a setter up until my junior year of high school and decided to switch because I was not the tallest person. I switched my junior season and have been playing it ever since and I absolutely love it.”

The Louisville, Ky., native has proved to be a gem for the Bobcats, leading the team in digs during her first three seasons. That production lands her third all-time in Ohio volleyball history in that category with 1,215 in her career. At the pace she’s on, she will have a chance to land atop that list which is currently held by Michaele Blackburn who tallied 2,091 digs from 2003-06.

Blackburn has a slight edge over Ashy in digs per set, but with the way that Ashy has played thus far this season, she might close some ground on the Bobcat alum.

For her efforts in the Millennium Hotel Invitational, Ashy received Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week. She recorded a team-high 51 digs on the weekend to go along with 11 assists. This is the second time a Bobcat player has received this honor this season as junior middle blocker Karin Bull received the award after the first week of the season.

Accolades are nothing new for Ashy as she has been widely believed to be the most talented libero in the MAC. This is shown through the accolades that she has received over her career at Ohio. In her freshman campaign, Ashy was named First Team All-MAC as well as taking home Co-Freshman of the Year in the conference. During her sophomore season, she was named the MAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, a prestigious honor with two MAC Players of the Year on the roster.

For coach Deane Webb, his offense is predicated around getting the ball into the hands of junior setter Abby Gilleland. Ashy plays an important role in that process doing the dirty work necessary in order to get the ball in good spots for Gilleland to make plays.

“(Ashy) is a big part of what we do,” Webb said. “Sometimes the libero gets overlooked just because of their size. They aren’t going up swinging trying to hit ball that the crowd goes nuts on, but she does a lot of the little things that makes us better. It’s hard to even quantify her impact because it’s so big.”

With Ashy well-entrenched along the backline for the Bobcats, Ohio will have someone that they can count on for the next two seasons. The appreciation for Ashy’s game can be quantified by the motor she plays with. She is one of the hardest working players on the court, using her vision and instincts that fuel her game, which tends to be shutting down some of the nation’s hardest hitters.

“I think what impresses me the most about Meredith is her ability to receive balls with heat,” Webb said. “She can dig balls that come with a lot of pace … That’s a special quality for a libero. It’s amazing how much a libero of her talent can impact the opponent.”

@Kovarandrew

ak840511@ohio.edu

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