Success on the volleyball court is something Ashley Solis is accustomed to.
As an athlete at Pitman High, Solis stalked the court as an outside hitter for four years at the varsity level where she helped the Pride earn their first Central California Conference Volleyball championship while also earning All-League honors including best defensive player and MVP awards.
After graduating in 2012, Solis joined the Coyotes of California State University, San Bernardino where she was asked to make quick transition from high school starter to collegiate starter.
“The transition was tough because, obviously, college sports are a lot more intense than high school. But the program at Pitman was pretty competitive, so the transition was actually fairly similar,” Solis said.
At San Bernardino, Solis continued her winning ways as she helped the Coyotes earn their seventh consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association title and finished the season with 21 starts, 31 matches played, 115 set appearances out of her team’s 124 sets. She also finished third on the squad in kills and in points with 266 and 304.5, respectively.
“Our coaches had experienced a lot of success in the past and so there was a huge, not burden, but expectations of our class,” Solis said. “A lot of us were starters so there was definitely a lot of pressure on us to fulfill the success that our program had had in the past.”
The success kept coming for Solis and her Coyotes in 2013 as they again won the CCAA title, making it eight in a row for the program.
But while winning within their conference was no problem for Solis and her team, ultimate success in the post season eluded them. In both her freshman and sophomore seasons the Coyotes advanced all the way to the NCAA West Regional Finals only to be defeated by BYU Hawaii both years.
“We gave them a run for their money but we still couldn’t beat them,” Solis said of the 2013 matchup with the Seasiders. “Hopefully we can push through that barrier this year.”
And so for all her success on the court, Solis has no shortage of motivation for the upcoming season.
From the pressure that comes with upperclassman leadership, to expectations for a ninth straight CCAA title, and to a grudge with an as of yet unbeatable opponent; 2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for Solis and her teammates.
“In comparison to the last two years, this is definitely our year,” Solis said. “My class is ginormous. We’re all moving into our junior year, have all been preparing for the past two years, so we definitely have a lot of experience and skill on the court this year. With two All-Americans, an amazing libero, and an amazing setter—just all around we’re pretty stacked so I’m really excited to see how far we can go.”
Currently in the middle of individual summer weight lifting, Solis will rejoin her team in mid-August for team exercise and practice. The season will officially being on Sept. 5 when the Coyotes play Hawaii Pacific University in the first match of the Hampton Inn Wildcat Invitational.
“Having so much success in high school and in college is great, and hopefully that continues,” Solis said.