PHOENIX, Ore. — Ashlyn Flynn’s love of volleyball started in Monterey, California where she grew up. She’s now a senior at Phoenix High School and she keeps getting better. The libero enters her senior season as the defending Skyline Co-Player of the Year.
“It was a huge accomplishment,” said Flynn. “It was like all this hard work paid off.”
“She’s such a great player,” said Phoenix head coach Candice Leidecker. “I can put her anywhere, and I know she’s going to step up and play the game the way it needs to be played.”
That’s something she’s done since she was in the fifth grade, but it was her sister Alissa that pushed her.
“She was my inspiration to play,” said Ashlyn.
Alissa was always Ashlyn’s familiar coach and sometimes her harshest critic.
“After school we would bump the ball because I had no one to bump the ball with,” said Alissa. “All my coaches were really hard on me, and if she didn’t do it right, I was really hard on her.”
“She’s a perfectionist, and so every time I have my platform wrong, or if something wasn’t the way it should be, she would constantly correct me and nail me until it was right,” said Ashlyn.
Ashlyn looked up to her sister and was thrilled about the opportunity to play together when Alissa was a senior and Ashlyn was a freshman at North Monterey County High in California, but that opportunity lasted only one match.
“Her senior year she tore her ACL and her MCL,” said Ashlyn. “I was so pumped to play with her, and then her first game she blew it.”
“Volleyball was like a part of me, and I worked really hard,” said Alissa. “Ever since my injury, it’s like a part of me was just gone. That was my outlet on everything. I was just really, really devastated.”
The devestation Alissa felt eventually fueled her to help her younger sister, who took her spot on the roster.
“I cheered her on no matter what,” said Alissa. “I knew she was doing good, and I was just supporting her the whole way. I was really proud that she actually did step up and take my spot.”
“She pushed me to do better and do it for her,” said Ashlyn.
They only officially played together for less than one match, but behind every set is Flynn’s backyard, a game of pepper and Ashlyn’s very first coach.