Academy of Notre Dame’s Ashley Haas is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

The senior co-captain and libero of the Irish’s volleyball team, Haas had 36 digs as Notre Dame defeated Cardinal O’Hara for the first time ever Sept. 11. The team had dedicated the game to Haas’ best friend, who had received a liver transplant two days before the match. Haas, the defensive leader of the Irish, also recorded 42 digs in a 3-0 win against Archbishop Prendergast two days earlier. She is considered a very aggressive, effective server, and recorded seven kills out of her back row attacks.

Q: What is your most vivid memory of the win at home against Cardinal O’Hara Sept. 11? Can you tell us a little about how the team devoted the game to a fellow classmate who received a liver transplant two days before the match– what did it mean to you to win that game in her honor?

A: The win against Cardinal O’Hara on Sept. 11 was a game I will remember forever. We played our hearts out and really came together as a team that day. My most vivid memory of the win was the final point in the fourth match. I watched teammate Shannon Quigley get the set and she knew exactly where to place the ball to end the game.
Not only will I always remember the win against Cardinal O’Hara because it was the first time [we beat them] in Notre Dame history, but specifically because it was dedicated to my best friend. As Leanne was in the hospital in serious condition, she remained close to our hearts and mind through the entire game. Every girl on the court was playing for her. Leanne is one of the strongest girls I know and inspired each of us to play our hardest for her. It was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever endured and I couldn’t be happier we were able to get the win
for her and her family that day.

Q: As libero, you are considered the defensive leader of the Notre Dame volleyball team. Can you give an example or two of how you display this leadership?

A: I understand that my role as libero comes with a great deal of responsibility. Being in a key position leading the back row, it is important that I am very vocal. I work hard to communicate whether the ball is in or out and who should be involved in each play.

Q: What, to you, is the biggest key in successful serving?

A: Serving is an important aspect – it can be the difference between winning and losing a game. I have been working
extremely hard for the last four years on trying to improve my serve. I have learned that the two most important factors in this aspect of the game is to stay relaxed and keep your focus. I try to keep this in mind each time I
go back to serve.

Q: What to you has been the highlight of your Academy of Notre Dame volleyball career to date? What is your most vivid memory of that experience – can you share it with us?

A: The highlight of my volleyball career at The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur to date has been the two InterAc
titles and two PAISAA championships. My most vivid memory of these wins was my sophomore year when the game went into 5 matches against Agnes Irwin. Each match was close, losing and winning by 23 points. In the final match I can clearly remember Notre Dame pulling it out and winning the championship.

Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game are you currently working on the most currently?

A: I think the strongest part of my game is my energy and teamwork. Win or lose I try to make a constant effort to keep the team’s momentum at a high pace and keep the high-spirited energy throughout the entire game. I also believe my serve as consistently been a strong aspect of my game. As I inherited the role of libero this year, I still have a lot to learn and can continue to develop my skills in this position.

Q: What sparked your initial interest in volleyball? Who have been your top volleyball mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?

A: My initial interest in volleyball was sparked by my grade school coach Anne Staiber. Starting in fifth grade she began to work with me in different aspects of the game. After practicing and learning the key skills of the game I became extremely interested. I began playing for different club teams and working hard to improve my game. My top volleyball mentor began with my dad, who has played many competitive sports and always encouraged me to stay involved. My dad encouraged me to keep working hard to become the best I can be. My high school and club coach Mike Sheridan has also had a huge impact on my game. He’s always pushed me to play up to my full potential and always had the confidence in me since I started playing for him.

Q: Tell us a little about your pregame preparation on the day of a game.

A: My pregame preparation is usually very simple. I try to go to bed early the night before and eat a good breakfast. Throughout the day I get the team and myself pumped up. Before each game I turn our playlist on and stay hydrated.

Q: What do you think you’d like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you? What are your favorite colleges at the present time?

A: I am looking to pursue nursing in college. I love working and playing with young kids and am hoping to get the chance to continue my interest. My top choices at this point are University of Florida, University of South Carolina, Penn State, and the University of Connecticut.

Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Academy of Notre Dame? What sparked your interest in these activities?

A: In my sophomore year I joined the club Meals for Many, which is a group organization that makes meals and delivers them to shelters. On occasion we will have the chance to individually hand the meals out and talk to the people at the shelter. Another extracurricular activity I participate in is Campus Ministry, which meets after school to organize different volunteer opportunities for the student body and plan different events for local schools around us, such as The Gesu School.

Ashley Haas’ top picks

Book: Gone Girl.
Author: John Greene.
TV show: Big Brother.
Movie: Bridesmaids.
Pre-game pump-up song: Lose Yourself, by Eminem.
Athlete: Peyton Manning.
Historical figure: “I particularly admire Walt Disney for creativity and inspiration. He changed entertainment not only for children, but also adults.”
Team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Place to visit: New York City.

(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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