It was at about the midseason point when Ashley Elrod took her first look at the Arlington Lamar stats page.
What it showed on the surface was how far she led in just about every category for her team. What Elrod was able to discern was how far she had come from her junior year to her senior season.
Outside hitter: Ashley Elrod, Sr., Lamar -- The Player of the Year was rock-solid and carried the load for Lamar with 585 kills.
Libero: Cat McCoy, Jr., Southlake Carroll -- It's a rare ball if it's one this dynamic University of Texas commit can't find a way to play.
Setter: Mallory Powell, Sr., Aledo -- 1,210 assists, 70 aces and 248 digs to anchor the Bearcats this season.
Middle blocker: Briana Dorsey, Sr., Keller Central -- A dominating presence for the Chargers, she had 256 kills and 92 blocks.
OH: Kaitlyn Granger, Sr., Arlington -- Another dominating hitter in this district, Granger was a standout not only on offense but in getting players around her involved.
OH: Kimmy Gardiner, Sr., Colleyville Heritage -- A blistering hitter who had 522 kills, 471 digs and 57 aces this season.Second team
L: Lauren Mills, Jr., Keller Timber Creek -- Produced almost 85 percent of the Falcons' offense, and strong on defense.
OH: Jazmine Martin, Sr., Fort Worth Dunbar -- Had 321 kills for the Wildcats' offense this season.
MB: Janelle Giordano, Sr., Keller -- Recorded 275 kills and 152 total blocks.
OH: Abby Seamster, Sr., Burleson -- Led the Elks with 352 kills and 123 aces.
OH: Christiana Tavo, Sr., Trinity -- Was first on the team with 298 kills and second with 137 digs.
OH: Mallory Sanders, Sr., Mansfield -- Recorded 575 kills and 480 digs.
The outside hitter's progress provided ample evidence for Elrod to be selected the Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year.
"Generally, it was the best season of my career but not because of the stat sheet," said Elrod, who recorded 585 kills, 447 digs and 91 service aces in the regular season. "I just enjoyed this season with my teammates. I loved playing with them, and I loved playing for our coach."
Lamar coach Kathy Wood isn't shocked by Elrod's performance -- only disappointed her senior hitter hasn't received significant scholarship offers to play at the college level.
That's a shocking fact considering not only how important Elrod was to Lamar's success, but also the strong fundamentals she brought to the court.
Stopping just short of the idea that Lamar was one-dimensional with Elrod, the reality is that she got the great majority of swings at the net.
"Every time we were on the court, she was either one of the best players -- if not the best player -- on the floor," Wood said.
"No one did more for her high school team than Ashley this season. It's rare to have a player that is the hitting option on all six rotations."
When Elrod shuffled to the back row, her defense wasn't the only difference-maker. She generally set off the back row in Lamar's offense, meaning Elrod was successful on kills off the net, which is not a general practice for teams chock full of depth.
Elrod has had the game reps and practice time that make her a dynamic player, but the college offers still haven't come.
"Coach wanted me to market myself more, but I kind of figured it would take care of itself," she said.
"The thing that's important to me is that maybe I can find a school with a beach."
That sentiment almost is delivered with a smirk, but Elrod is serious about that possibility.
She said she really fell in love with the game during the 2008 Beijing Games watching Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor take home the gold in beach volleyball.
Her preference for school would be to find one that either holds classes near a beach or has a beach program.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi fits part of that bill, and Elrod is working with the school to earn a scholarship offer.
She describes herself as an A-B student who loves volleyball enough to make it a career.
"I want to coach," she said. "Right now, I help out our coach and club coach with youth camps and getting involved with the younger kids. I love the game, and I want to go forward with it coaching."
It's not the direction that is the problem for Elrod; it may be the road.
But judging from the accelerated leap she made this year, some program will be getting a steal with Elrod.
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