The Paly Voice: You made varsity volleyball your freshman year, congratulations. How did you prepare for your tryouts mentally and physically?
Ashlyn Callan: This whole summer I have been doing a bunch of different camps. I do it every summer because it’s fun. The week before tryouts, I took it a little bit easier so that I could be ready. I didn’t want to go all out and be sore for the first day of tryouts, because that’s never good. I also went to all the open gyms.
TPV: “Did you expect to make varsity?”
AC: Not at all. The head coach Jekara Wilson invited me to varsity tryouts and that’s as far as I expected to go, because it is an accomplishment to even get invited because only six freshmen were. I was so happy because it’s just amazing.
TPV: You said you were excited to make varsity, could you elaborate on how you felt when you were told that you were going to be on varsity volleyball?
AC: So my dad came downstairs and she [Wilson] sent out an email, he came downstairs and said “Bad news Ash” and I was like “Oh that’s okay, next year, I guess” and he said “No, look you made it” and I was like “What!”.
TPV: How much more competitive is varsity volleyball compared to your club [Red Rock Volleyball Club]?
AC: It’s similar but different at the same time. Red Rock is all about power and hard hits and digging everything and consistency, consistency. At Paly it’s like they are all amazing players too, but it’s more about strategy. It’s different strategies. But the girls here are smarter, they are so good.
TPV: Last year a current sophomore named Chelsea Fan made varsity as a freshman and the year before that Jessica Lee made varsity as a freshman, have you talked to them about tips and what it is like being a freshman. Do you feel like you have shoes to fill?
AC: They are both amazing players. I haven’t talked to them specifically, but I have talked to Claire Dennis who made it her freshman year, she has been really, really nice and supportive and really helpful to me. She congratulated me when I made the team. She texted me when we got the roster saying “Congratulations, that’s great. I was in your shoes a couple years ago and it was really tough but at the same time it was the best season I ever had and I hope you have the same experience I do,” That was really nice that she would do that.
TPV: What is the vibe on the team like?
AC: It’s really good. Coach Wilson really emphasized in tryouts that you need good chemistry as a team or else it doesn’t go well, because you need communication. Volleyball is a team sport so all the girls have to be super supportive. Sometimes you need to yell at somebody for something they did wrong, but they do it nicely. It’s good. We play well together.
TPV: A lot of times freshmen don’t get a lot of playing time on varsity teams. How do you feel about that? Was there ever a thought about not playing varsity and instead playing junior varsity so you could get more playing time?
AC: Well I did the same thing for club. I played Red Rock and didn’t get much playing time at all but you have to work for your playing time, no matter how good you are. Just by practicing with the girls, I have developed so much, that it is worth it for me to stay even if I don’t play that much. It’s worth it. I think we play five sets and some teams in our league aren’t as good so hopefully I get to play.