SoCon’s Freshman of Year, Muench reflects on season

Madison Winkler/ The Carolinian

Madison Wyker/ The Carolinian

Ashely Munench will look to build off her strong season in her first semester at UNCG

By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer

Published in print Jan 14, 2015.

The volleyball team’s impressive 2014 campaign was one of the brightest spots for a UNCG Athletics Program last semester which at times struggled mightily.

Finishing with a 20-11 record and an appearance in the Southern Conference (SoCon) Semi-Finals, the team had one of its best seasons in recent memory.

Captaining the team was first year head coach Corey Carlin.

In his first season as head coach of the Spartans, Carlin fortunately had strong guidence from his trio of seniors in Vicky Harley, Kelsey Sidney and Emily McMurtrey whose leadership on and off the court had been praised by Coach Carlin throughout the season.

Also stepping up at the helm was a freshman Outside Hitter from Hurdles Mills, North Carolina named Ashley Muench who led an impressive crop of Spartan freshmen.   

Muench finished the year with 235 kills, fourth on the team, and a .170 hit percentage.

Munech also took home some prestigious hardware, winning the SoCon Freshman of the Year award, and joining her senior teammates Kelsey Sidney and Vicky Harley on the SoCon All Conference Team.

Only a freshman, Ashley looks to be a catalyst for the Spartan’s Volleyball team throughout her time here at UNCG.

In an interview where she reflected on her first semester as a student athlete, Muench discussed her experience as a student athlete in her first few months of college.

Opening up about some of her background of volleyball and how she first got into the sport,

Muench explained how she accidentally fell in love with the game of volleyball which she now excels at.

“Volleyball came to me by accident and fate” she explained.

“I wandered into a game when I was lost one day, and when I saw the girls playing, I fell in love with the game” she said.

During the interview, Muench discussed at what point did she feel that she could continue playing volleyball into a Division I college.

“Playing in college has always been a dream, however, my first competitive club season sophomore year [in high school] made it surreal” she said.

We then talked more about her life off the court as a student at UNC-Greensboro.

Such as what first attracted her to the school.

“The beautiful campus and its a good sized university, but has a small feeling atmosphere” she commented.

As a Division I athlete and full time student, Muench explained how she adjusted her life to not only compete in high level volleyball, but the adjustments she had to make to the challenging curriculum of a college education.

“Playing in the spring last year really made me realize how much I needed to improve my ball control and consistency to play well at the Division I level,” she replied.

Muench continued by explaining how it has affected her work schedule in the classroom.

“Playing volleyball has forced me to be really focused on my academics, spending most of my free time either playing volleyball or working on my school work” she said.

Now with the season over, the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year was asked how she had progressed both on and off the court.

“I feel like my volleyball experiences has sky rocketed, and I’ve learned that hard work will pay off,” she said.

Heading into the off-season after such a successful season, the volleyball team will have to do some slight rebuilding if they will look to continue build from the strong foundation set this past season.

Vicky Harley and Kelsey Sidney finished second and third on the team in kills, as well as averaging a combined .261 hit percentage.

Their combined lost will leave a hole in the Blue and Gold’s offense.

However, if what Muench said was true about her experience, that space will be closed with the skills and abilities of Coach Carlin, Ashley Muench, and the rest of the UNCG Volleyball team.


Categories: daniel johnson, madison wyker, Sports

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