She’s a hit in Marysville

Tomahawk leader has ‘the hammer’

By ART CORRAL

Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Off the court, Ashley Isaksen is shy, quiet and unassuming, almost to a fault.

She is humble about her accomplishments, including those she achieved the past two seasons as a volleyball player at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

But on the court, she is an aggressive, confident, go to player.

The 6-foot, left-handed outside hitter is a three-year varsity letter winner. She has been named to the Western Conference 4A first team two years in a row, as well as being named to The Herald’s All-Area second team last year as a junior.

This year, she made the first team and has been selected as The Herald’s All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year.

Isaksen first started playing volleyball when she was 10, on a U-14 club team. She also played soccer, basketball and softball at a younger age. But most kids aren’t exposed to volleyball until somewhere around the fifth grade.

Isaksen’s older sister, Hilary, also played for Marysville-Pilchuck and head coach Shelley Johnson.

"While Hilary was practicing, Ashley was always around," Johnson said. "She always looked up to Hilary."

Johnson noticed at an early age that Isaksen could hit and set, "but she hit so good that I thought she should only be a hitter."

"Everyone on the team looked up to Isaksen," Johnson added. "She had the hammer. She had pressure on her to always come through in the clutch, which she did more often than not.

"She didn’t play against Cascade, and (Marysville-Pilchuck) lost. The girls were lost without their leader. Everyone looked to her for guidance. She was the leader. The girls would follow her example. If she struggled, they struggled. It wasn’t until later in the season that the rest of the girls stepped up, which relieved some of the pressure off of Isaksen."

Isaksen appreciated the camaraderie.

"I enjoyed the girls on the team," Isaksen said. "They were fun. We really didn’t hang out much, but when we were on the court, we had good chemistry."

She’s also grateful for the support of her family.

"They’ve come to all of my matches and tournaments since I was 10," she said.

The Tomahawks accomplished quite a bit this season. They were Wesco 4A co-champs, along with Kamiak and Cascade. In a tie-breaker to determine the seeding for the district tournament, they beat Kamiak, their arch-rivals.

"Beating Kamiak was a big deal for Ashley," Johnson said.

Isaksen ended her career at Marysville-Pilchuck with 574 kills, 126 blocks, 231 assists and a .966 serving percentage. She won’t be building on those numbers in college, deciding instead to concentrate on her studies. The only school she has applied to is the University of Washington.

"I think it’s going to be hard enough being a freshman in college," she said. "I don’t see me having the time."

Studies are clearly important to Isaksen. She is currently taking classes at Everett Community College as part of the Running Start program, earning credits for both high school and college.

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