Lady Mustangs senior playing bigger than her stature

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Grapevine volleyball team claimed the fourth and final playoff spot in District 6-5A last season, and a big part of the Lady Mustangs’ success can be attributed to the play of Ashley Rice.

The district Newcomer of the Year last season, Rice has become a force up front for Grapevine, and coach Diane Wilson said he outside hitter brings a lot to the team.

“Ashley has fantastic ball control, so she's a six rotation player,” Wilson said. “Despite her small stature, she is very important to keep up front because of her ball control and the fact that she is dynamic at the net as well.”

Wilson said she has been impressed by the fact that Rice also seems to have picked up right where she left off in 2012.

“She is a better player than she was last year already,” Wilson said. “I have also seen her take on the responsibility of trying to be a team leader. We have a lot of young players around her, and she serves as a great role model for them through her skills and her encouragement.”

Rice does not plan to play volleyball at the collegiate level, so she definitely wants to make the most of her senior season in which she hopes to bring a couple of things to the team.

“I want to be able to help my teammates out when they get down,” Rice said. “I want to pick the team up and be loud and encouraging. I want to help our team to be competitive.”

Rice said she likes what she sees from her team this season and said the goal for the Lady Mustangs is to claim one of the top two spots in district and have a good run in the post-season.

“The preseason has helped us a lot,” Rice said. “We've really grown and gotten used to playing next to each other. We have a lot of youth, and I think we are getting better each time we play.”

Rice, who is also a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society, hopes to attend Tulane or UC- Santa Barbara for her collegiate studies.

The Grapevine senior said she believes it will take a couple of things for her team to make the post-season in 2013.

“It will take a lot of work and practice,” Rice said. “We've just got to focus, improve our hitting averages and passing averages and go out there and play our game.”

Wilson said that Rice is critical to any a success the Lady Mustangs will enjoy this season.

“Without Ashley, our serve/receive would be in dire straights,” Wilson said. “She is also a leader in digs every match, and is just a very good player.”

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