Ashley McGraw digs out 1,000

Ashley McGraw digs out 1,000

by Ashley Pitkin

During last week’s volleyball match against Coe, senior Ashley McGraw dug out her 1,000th ball – the ninth person to do so in Simpson athletic history – yet there was no celebration.

But according to McGraw, that’s the way it should’ve been.

“I wasn’t even really thinking about it before or during the match,” McGraw said. “I didn’t even realize what had happened until afterwards when my dad told me. But it doesn’t need to be about me, it needs to be about the team.”

After she became aware of her tremendous accomplishment she graciously received hugs and congratulations from teammates, friends and family members. However, in McGraw’s mind, the painstaking feeling of just having lost to Coe outweighed her night’s achievement.

“We lost and we hate to lose,” McGraw said.

The loss, according to Head Volleyball Coach Lana Smith, was due to the team being extremely fatigued. They had recently returned from winning second place in an exhausting tournament in Chicago.

“We had good momentum during our last tournament and we just need to get it going again,” Smith said. “And we will once we rest our legs a bit.”

It’s easy to gain momentum with players like McGraw who bring so much to the court. McGraw is the type of player who, according to Smith, is intense and aggressive but is also very consistent.

“She’s not only a great person but also an outstanding student-athlete,” Smith said. “She provides the team with amazing stability.”

Junior teammate Tiffany Everding feels the same way about McGraw and is very proud of what her teammate has recently accomplished. Everding believes McGraw’s success speaks highly for both McGraw and her team.

“One thousand digs is amazing,” Everding said. “[McGraw] has worked so hard to get where she is.”

Playing with McGraw, according to Everding, whether during practice or in a match makes an already exciting game even more extreme – and it’s also a tremendous workout.

“She drives us because she’s all over the place,” Everding said. “We have to push ourselves so hard in order to even try to keep up with her.”

Although McGraw is humble and wishes not to make a big deal out of her outstanding contributions to Simpson athletics, Everding hopes McGraw is aware of just how much she means to her team.

“McGraw has been and continues to be a great team leader,” Everding said. “She deserves all the recognition she gets and more.”

The two-time letter winner is currently sixth in Simpson history for career digs with 1,100. She’s racked up all those digs in only a little over two seasons at Simpson, after transferring from Indian Hills Community College her sophomore year.

McGraw has earned double-digit digs in 33 of 46 matches since last year, and has already posted 177 so far this season. McGraw had 65 digs through four matches of the Simpson Invitational.

These numbers not only mean something to McGraw, but to all of Simpson athletics.

“Whenever something like this happens, we eat it up,” Smith said. “It’s great for our team and great for Simpson athletics.”