John Raffel

MM Sports Scene


Ashley volleyball has turned the corner, thanks to the efforts of a former Alma College coach.

Casey Hilts, a former member of the coaching staff at Alma, has stepped into the volleyball coach role at Ashley.

In the team’s first 13 matches, the Bears have won four times and have started off at 4-5-4.

It’s a team that didn’t win a match last year,” said Hilts, who is in his first season with the program. “It’s been a matter of overall skill development. We’re making great strides.”

Hilts’ Ashley team is fairly young, considering seven seniors graduated from last year’s team.

They had three juniors that would have been returning that transferred to other schools,” he said.

But he’s been pleased with the performance of various players, including 5’8″ middle hitter Kate Mills, a senior, plus Kelsey Smith, a 5’5″ sophomore middle hitter.  They were averaging 3.8 and 3.2 kills per game. Brittany Sobers, a 5’1″ senior, is at 5.5 digs per match.

Megan Lee Reed, a  5’6″ sophomore, is developing into a solid player.

Hilts has been encouraged that the program at Ashley has been holding its own on the court. The team won a division at the Michigan Lutheran Seminary tournament.

We’ve been competitive,” he said.