Ashleigh Pollard, Rogers
The junior outside hitter for the Rams, and perhaps the best player in the South Sound, helped the Rams lock up their second straight SPSL South regular season title. Pollard racked up 22 kills, 18 digs, three aces and two blocks Tuesday in the title clincher against Puyallup. Last week, she racked up 34 kills, 46 digs and nine aces in two matches last week.
Describe the atmosphere other night when you beat Puyallup to clinch the SPSL South title.
It was just really intense and eveyrone was having a lot of fun. It felt good. It was packed, all of the bleachers were full and it was really loud. I like games like that when all bleachers are full and everything is intense.
It was second year in a row that Rogers won the SPSL South title. Was it tougher this year or last year?
It was tougher last year because we didn’t really know what to expect. We weren’t much of a winning program before last year. This year we know how each other plays and we knew what to expect and how to win.
With so many players coming back, could you imagine not winning the title?
If we lost, that would have been horrible, I couldn’t imagine us losing.
You have a different spelling of your name. How many people spell your name wrong?
Pretty much everyone, all of my teachers. The only people who spell it right are people that know me. Everyone else spells it A-S-H-L-E-Y. And they pronounce it, like Ash-Lay, or Ash-League.
When you are playing well and racking up kills in a match, do you know you are doing it?
No, I am so zoned out. People ask me, "Are you having fun?" I have to tell them I’m having fun. I get so focused out there I never notice how many kills I’m getting. I don’t really notice, but everyone else does.
How important is team chemistry to volleyball?
To me its so important, if you don’t have good chemistry, teams don’t usually perform well. You need to build it from the start. I think our team has that.
What’s your thoughts on wearing the tight spandex shorts for volleyball?
I grew up around volleyball so I’m used to seeing girls wearing them and I wanted to be just like them. When I started wearing them when I was younger, I wasn’t comfortable and I pull them down super low. I’m used to them now. They’re comfy.
Which is a better feeling a booming kill or a stuff block?
A booming kill. I don’t get many blocks, when I do, it feels so good, but I have to go with the kill.
Do you ever talk trash after a big kill?
No. I’ve given a few girls a facial (hit them in face with a spike) and stuff. The crowd usually will go, "ooohh!!) and I don’t even notice. I don’t get cocky like that.
Do you ever feel bad about hitting someone in the face?
Do you take it personally if somebody blocks you?
Yes cause I shouldn’t get blocked. It depends on the blocker, if she’s 5-5, it makes me mad, but if the blocker is 6-4 it isn’t as bad. It makes me more determined. Last night, I got blocked, and I was like, ‘Give me the ball again,’ and I got a kill on next play because I was so angry.
Is there ever such a thing as too much screaming in volleyball?
No. Never. Our team gets frustrated if we don’t get scream enough. It gets us so pumped up. Even when we aren’t playing a really competitive team, we still like to scream a lot. It gives us energy.
What song is playing on your iPod right now?
Some song from Linkin Park, I can’t remember the name. I listen to it before every game and it gets me so pumped up.
What’s one TV show you can’t miss?
"The Hills" I love that show, even though it’s so stupid or "House." I also have to watch "Desperate Housewives" on Sundays.
We ask all girls this: How many times have you seen the movie, "The Notebook"?
Oh my gosh, it’s my favorite movie. I’ve probably seen it like 20 times.
How many times do you cry?
They have movies about football, baseball, basketball and even soccer and gymnastics, why is there no movies about volleyball?
I don’t know. There was this really lame movie about volleyball that MTV did, and I watched this and I was like, "What the heck is this?"
If they made a movie about the Rogers Rams vollyeball team, who would you want to play you?
Seth Bridges, Lakes
Bridges is having his best year when it matters most, his senior season. The Lakes standout is coming off medalist honors at the Western Cascade conference meet, where he beat out the nearest competitor by almost 45 seconds. Bridges will now prepare for Saturday’s Westside Classic at American Lake Golf Course.
What’s the ideal weather to run in?
About 58 degrees, very little wind with just a little bit of sprinkling rain.
Why the rain?
It helps keep you cool.
How often do you actually get those ideal conditions?
I think just once or twice the entire time I’ve ran. The weather isn’t always that cooperative.
So if the weather is bad, can you block it out?
Every one is facing the condidtioins as me,. I just go out and run my best. But when you’re facing a stiff head win, it definitely enters your mind, but you just stomp it out and focus on racing.
What type of shoes do you wear?
For normal running, I wear the Adidas Supernova Classic. I’ve been wearing it since my sophomore year. I love that shoe. I probably go through five or six pairs a year.
Most runners don’t experiment with other shoes once they find a style they like, do they?
I like that the shoe never changes, that the design never changes. I try not to experiment.
In the last 400 yards of the race, what does your body feel like?
Your body’s hurting, but at that point you’re so close and the race is coming down to wire, you’re not thinking about it much, you’re just thinking about the finish line. But your body is hurting a lot. It’s painful.
It’s a good kind of pain, if you’re hurtin when you are coming in, it means you are running good race. I hope I never come through the line and not feel any pain.
Describe what you feel like in the moments just after a race?
When I’ve had a good race, it’s euphoric. I’m thinking yes, hallelujah, "Thank you, God." When I’ve had bad race, I feel like falling down on the ground and laying there for a few days.
Are you own worst critic?
You could definitely say that. The main thing I nitpick myself about is not sticking as close to my opponents as I could and letting my opponents go.
Is it the worst thing to finish and feel like you have something left?
It’s pretty bad when you finish and feel like you could have done more. You never want to feel that.
So you’re friends with Gig Harbor cross country standout Miles Unterreiner, how did that happen?
We’re good buds. We met a few times as freshmen, but when we really made connection was our sophomroe year when raced against each other at the Tiger Classic. It was a really awesome race. When you have that, it brings you together like nothing else. It really cemented our friendship.
What’s it like to compete against a friend like that?
It’s really cool. Before the meet, you wish each other good luck and you mean it. And then you push yourself, you don’t give them anything and you don’t care if your friend or not, that’s it. Once you go across the line it’s great becauseyou’ve pushed each other so hard and competed like nuts. Afterward, you give each other a hug and say, "good race."
Describe the course you’re running on this weekend for the Westside Classic?
It’s a golf course (American Lake Golf Course), so there’s a lot of good flats and downhills. There’s also some good hills. It’s a tough course, but a fast course. I’ve run it twice before and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to running it.
Having run the Westside Classic twice before, how much does that experience help?
It helps a lot to know how to compete at that level. I know the ropes and no what to expect, so I won’t panic and go out too fast. The first time I ran it, I was very nervous and I didn’t have a good way to start out. Five minutes before the race started, I noticed I didn’t have any spikes in shoes. We had to do a NASCAR-style spike change just before the race started.
How much a difference does in your performance if you like the course as opposed to disliking a particular course?
Ideally, it shouldn’t make a differencet at all. But in reality, it does. If you feel like a course is my friend, you feel like you will run well.
People tend to think you get out and just run, but is there some strategy?
I don’t use too much race strategy. I try to race and respond. I just try to be ready to respond for whatever gets thrown at you.
Hills: Good or bad for you?
I like hills, some people say I’m crazy, but I enjoy hills running hills.
What’s your pre-race routine like?
I usually do a warm up jog. You have to get a good warm up in, you don’t want to pull a muscle. They I do some drills. I always say a prayer before the race. Then I get on the line, and get ready to give it all I got.
If you had to recommend a book to somebody what would it be?
I’d have to recommend the Bible personally. It’s got everything you need.
You live no Anderson Island, is it big enough for long training runs?
Oh yeah, there are a few good long runs with some tough hills out here.
Could you run all the way around the perimeter of the island?
I never tried it, but I’ve always wanted to see if I could.