Familiarity, full ride lead South spiker Jessee to Hawaii Hilo

March 1, 2017

Ashton Jessee volleyball

Ashton Jessee

One of Ashton Jessee’s favorite things about a close game is the feeling of suspense.

But when it came to picking a college, she didn’t leave anything to chance.

The 18-year-old volleyball star chose the University of Hawaii Hilo.

“There were some other schools that I was talking to, for both softball and volleyball, but I knew I wanted to go to Hilo because of how much was offered and how familiar I was with the school,” she told me. “I had been going to the Big Island since I was really little so I’m familiar with the island, and they also offered me a full ride, which is pretty hard to pass up.”

Jessee, of South High fame, is an all-conference playmaker capable of playing all three positions in the front row, although she’s primarily a middle hitter. She was the West Spiketacular MVP as a junior.

She was injured for most of her senior season this year, but came back region tournament and helped the Wolverines place second at both the Cook Inlet Conference tournament and Class 4A state championships. She was part of state title squads in 2014 and 2013.

“Playing for South, there is always a target on your back and everyone is always out to beat you,” Jessee said. “Having Dan Knecht, Judy Knecht, and Virgil Hooe over the years pushed me to be a better volleyball player and person. They increased my volleyball IQ and having them will prepare me for the fast pace of the game, as well as having the determination to be the best I can be.”

The 6-foot-3 middle blocker figures to provide some punch at the net for the NCAA D2 Vulcans.

“I am super competitive, so I love the thrill of winning and the suspense of a close match,” she said. “In college, I’ll bring a competitive attitude and a determination to do well. I’ll bring a big block and strong swing. I also always put my teammates before myself, so I bring an uplifting and supporting spirit to the team.”

Jessee is the next in the long line of Alaskans moving on to play college ball.

“I’m very excited to play at the next level and represent Alaska. I’m super proud to be an Alaskan and being able to represent the state in a college sport is absolutely amazing,” she said.