Freshmen volleyball stars share chemistry on and off the court
Sports | Jared Nelson
Freshmen Ashlyn Hucky and Carlee Hoppe work together both on and off the court, as teammates and roommates. | Photo for The Clarion by Kristine Schmidt
The transition from high school to college is a daunting adjustment for many students. For student-athletes, that adjustment is even greater as they have to balance more challenging classes and greater responsibilities with an increased time commitment and level of competition in their sport.
Oftentimes, student-athletes will spend their freshman season on the bench, adjusting to the speed and heightened intensity of collegiate athletics, but for freshmen volleyball players Carlee Hoppe and Ashlyn Hucky, they’ve been thrown right into the action and the transition has been smooth.
The Royals volleyball team is off to a 7-5 start due in large part to the contributions of their newest members. Hoppe, a 5-foot-9-inch outside hitter from Shakopee looks to be Bethel’s top offensive weapon this season, sitting in the top five for kills, points and points per set in the MIAC. Hucky hails from Waconia and is the top setter for Coach Hunt’s squad, averaging nearly 7 assists per set.
While the newcomers have displayed their chemistry with one another on the court, they’re equally as comfortable off of it as close friends and roommates.
“[Ashlyn and I] love hanging out with each other and goofing around in our dorm room. Once she got used to my quirks and weirdness, we got along very well,” Hoppe said lightheartedly. Hucky echoed her roommate’s sentiment.
“We have much of the same interests and views on school, sports, friends, family and most importantly our faith in Jesus Christ,” Hucky said. “That made it easy for us to connect instantly.“
The connection between Hucky and Hoppe is not only evident in speaking with them, but in speaking with their teammates, who recognize how well the two compliment one another.
“They are both so outgoing and have such bright and happy personalities,” Kali Johnson said. Johnson, a sophomore libero, had a big role on varsity last season and can relate to the adjustment that Hucky and Hoppe are currently going through. She acknowledges that it is difficult but commends the freshmen on how they’re handling their new roles.
“They seemed to have jumped in with two feet and embraced everything,” Johnson said. “They’re comfortable in their skin. They know who they are and they have open personalities which makes it much easier.”
While the adjustment to college life and athletics has had its challenges, both Hucky and Hoppe say that the process has become manageable through the support of one another and the accepting nature of the upper classmen. Hoppe says that one of the reasons she chose to attend Bethel was because of the players she met during her visit, calling them “some of the most genuine, caring people” she’s ever met.
“Having Carlee as a roommate has made things much easier, especially during preseason,” Hucky said. “I had someone to talk to at night and a lot of times we would reflect on how the day went.”
Both women are extremely excited about the team’s outlook this season and for the years to come because they recognize the talent that lies in the current freshmen class, particularly in one another.
“Ashlyn is a great person to play with and a true team player,” Hoppe said. “She cares for everyone on the team and wants to do what’s best for them. As a hitter, I love having her as a setter because I know she wants me to do well.”
“Carlee is someone who brings energy to the team, and she makes it fun to play the game of volleyball,” Hucky said. “I enjoy playing with someone as athletic as she is. Even if my set is not perfectly where she wants it, she still can find a way to score.”
The way that these freshmen speak about one another, with such admiration and appreciation, shows that the current Bethel volleyball program is in good hands and their continued emergence on the court is something that will keep the rest of the MIAC busy for the next four years.