The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
Area sports writer Barry Ragan takes a look at girls sports and boys track and field in the CPL and other area leagues.
Ashlyn Fisher and the Jets move on to nationals
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By Barry Ragan
Barry Ragan is a girls sports contributor for the St. John News. He covers volleyball, basketball, track and various other sports in the south central Kansas.
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St. John's Ash Fisher (top row-third from left) stands with the Kansas Jets after playing in a Kansas City volleyball tournament.
St. John's Ash Fisher (top row-third from left) stands with the Kansas Jets after playing in a Kansas City volleyball tournament.
By Barry Ragan
June 11, 2013 3:42 p.m.

One of the St. John Tigers volleyball players Ashlyn Fisher will be traveling south to Texas in late June as a member of the Kansas Jets volleyball club, a team that took first place in the Midwest Nike Qualifier Volleyball Tournament held in Indianapolis, and will play in the Nationals during July 1-5 in Dallas.

Going to nationals feels a lot like going into a state championship game” said Fisher. “I’m super excited to see how we end up.”

Ash, as she prefers to be called, is a libero (a defensive specialist) for the nine member team with her teammates coming from Manhattan, Clay Center, Wamego, McPherson and Southeast of Saline. The front line of the Jets is quite imposing with the tallest player standing at 6'1”.

The Jets' coach is Lori Martini who lives in Manhattan and is the high school volleyball coach for Riley County.

The Jets play only in the Gold Division.

Placing first at the Nike Qualifier was no easy task for the Jets, considering there were 128 teams in their division. Surprisingly, three of the top four teams were in the Jets region which covers Kansas and Missouri.

You have to love playing volleyball a whole lot to put on the miles these gals and their parents are willing to travel and to give up their weekends, especially during the school months.

Our season starts the week after state volleyball and doesn’t end until the week before the St. John team volleyball camp, so we get a lot of practice time in,” said Ash. “It’s a huge commitment for us. My teammates and I have gone through a lot to get where we are and I’m just ready to play.”

Having practices twice a week in either Abilene, Manhattan, Salina, Junction City and McPherson, and playing in tournaments at Kansas City, Missouri Southern State University, Shawnee, Kansas and Omaha shows exactly how big a commitment that is which gives the girls little time for anything else.

Last weekend, the Jets played in the Pre-National Tournament at Topeka. After that the Jets will have one more tournament before the Nationals.

There will be 48 teams in the whole nation that have the honor to participate in the Nationals.

I’m so excited to be able to go out and be part of the Kansas Jets,” said Ash. “But I couldn’t have done it without the help from Coach Wade and the rest of our high school team.”

Jamie Waters and Ash were the setters for St. John's team last year. During Waters's absence do to an injury early on in the season, Fisher took over as setter until Waters came back.

Last fall, the St. John volleyball team came oh-so-close to winning the state volleyball championship their second year in a row, losing a heart-breaker to Olpe in three sets, and with the leads keeping on changing throughout the match, and so long that the St. John-Olpe match became the second highest in scoring in KHSAA 1-6A volleyball history.

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