In her dual role as a supportive team leader and a champion athlete, eighth-grader outside hitter Ava Cashman has exemplified team play as she guided her volleyball team to achieve the Middle School’s best record in program history. For her zealous efforts, Ava was nominated by her coaches as a stand out player who represented her team well.
Cashman praised the way the team developed their gameplay throughout the season. “It was great seeing how much everyone has grown because there were a ton of new players this season,” she said. “We began the season with several shy players, but throughout the games and the season [I liked] seeing people make their first serve over or giving great passes. It’s those little moments throughout the season.” Cashman added that the Middle School team had a fun season, and she enjoyed the light-hearted environment.
Cashman feels she does her best to boost the team’s culture and optimism. “At practices, I am always just trying to keep being positive because I know sometimes people can get stressed while adapting a new skill,” she said. “That is why I am always encouraging on the court especially during games and practice.”
Head Coach Stacey Tomkiel defines Cashman as a positive, motivated, and tough competitor. “Ava is always willing to lead a drill and acts by example by listening to the coaches and is also a team cheerleader too,” Coach Tomkiel said. “She is always on the court cheering for other kids, or if she is taken out of a game, she is screaming on the sidelines for those who are playing. She has a really positive attitude and awesome serve; she is always communicating with her teammates and is someone who doesn’t get down on herself. Ava is a great leader during practice, but also has the skills to back it up too.”
Assistant Coach Samantha Cassidy said that Ava’s willingness to set a strong example and dedication to the sport are reasons for her nomination. “Ava has been in the program for all three years. She works hard outside of school as well, to continue practicing volleyball, even helping the other players with their skills during practice and always willing to demonstrate a play or drill,” she said. “On the court, she is always showing by example, really goes about practicing her techniques, and always calls the ball, which is helpful for the other players to see and mimic… she leads by example.”
Seventh-grader teammate to Cashman, Niamh Foley, praised Ava for her excitement and leadership on the court. “Ava is a huge part of our team and I think everyone on the team can agree with that,” she said. “She has taught me a lot, she knows how to lead the team and work us, while still keeping it fun. She is strong and competitive but keeps it goofy.”
The team wrapped up the season with a solid 4-1 record, with contributions from all levels of players.
Cashman is already thinking of next year. “I will truly miss the team,” Ava said, “but I definitely see myself playing volleyball in high school, and I am already looking forward to it. Go Wyverns!”