College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Athlete of the Week: Ashley Bylsma

An exclusive interview with Ashley Bylsma whose performance on the women’s volleyball team earned her a spot for athlete of the week.
Photo provided by COD Athletics

Name: Ashley Bylsma

Sport: Volleyball

Position: Setter 

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Lombard

High School: Glenbard East


Lily Goodfellow: When did you start playing volleyball?

Ashley Bylsma: I started playing volleyball in sixth grade. I was homeschooled before. I was actually homeschooled up until high school. So I started off playing at a homeschool program, which was really fun and that got me started playing volleyball. And then I actually played at a middle school in our area for seventh and eighth grade.


LG: How do you think the team is doing this season?

AB: I think we’ve had our share of ups and downs. But I think overall it’s been a really fun season. We’ve had some really great wins, and even after our tough games, I think we’ve had a lot of bounceback games too. We’ve always been resilient. That’s kind of been our theme for the year. I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s really fun playing with the girls on the team.


LG: What are your goals with volleyball? Do you hope to continue playing after COD?

AB: My goals in volleyball are to have fun, but also to win. I hate losing, and I’m a pretty competitive person. But I think the major thing is to have fun playing with the girls on the court. I do hope to continue playing after this year. I think it would be fun to play for two more years.


LG: How have your coaches helped you, both in high school and college?

AB: I’ve had some pretty great coaches. I think one that’s most influential for me was my freshman year coach. He really just took into account me being a setter and he pushed me to be the best that I could be. Really, he’s the one that encouraged me to continue playing all throughout high school. And the coaches here at college are really great. They’re there to help us, and they’re there to push us. And I think our volleyball coaches work together so well. They all have different ways of coaching, but I think that’s what makes them really great coaches.


LG: What other sports do you play and which is your favorite?

AB: In high school, I played basketball and I also ran track and field, along with volleyball. My favorite is volleyball, which is why that’s the one I picked to play in college. I really did enjoy both playing basketball and running track in high school as well.


LG: What strengths do you have that make you a great athlete?

AB: I think one of my strengths is that I am always pushing myself to be the hardest worker. Whether it’s in practice or during a game, I’m always trying my best. I think another really important aspect is putting others before myself. I think always working together as a team is one of the most important things.


LG: How do you balance sports and school?

AB: That one’s a little tricky. I feel like I’m definitely busier this year than I was last year. But I just make sure that when I come home after practice, I am doing my homework and I’m staying on top of that so I can succeed on the court. Obviously, being a student comes first, and I really do try to prioritize that. Managing my time between school and volleyball is not easy, but it’s totally worth it to play a sport in college.


LG: You’ve won a number of awards and conference titles. What do you think is your greatest athletic accomplishment and why?

AB: The greatest accomplishment was winning the national championship last year. It was something that sometimes I still can’t comprehend. It was by far one of the best moments of my athletic career. It was just a lot of fun. If you had told me even a year prior to that, that I would be the setter on a national championship team, I wouldn’t have believed you. It was so surreal. I am really glad that I was able to do that with the girls that I did it with.


LG: Where is your favorite place to travel and where do you hope to go in the future?

AB: My favorite place to travel is Stormy Lake in Wisconsin. It’s about six hours away. My family and I have been going to a cabin at a lake in the woods there ever since I was little. It’s really a special place for me. And somewhere I would want to go is Germany. I took German in high school, so I know a little bit of the language. That is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.


LG: I read that you listen to Taylor Swift. Did you go to the Eras concert? What is your favorite Taylor Swift song?

AB: I did not go to the concert. I really wished I did, but I didn’t get a ticket. Although I did go to her concert in the movie theater that just came out last week. So that was a lot of fun. My favorite song is Clean from the 1989 album.


LG: What one word best describes you?

AB: I think one word that describes me is passionate. I love to play volleyball. And I love living life. I just hope to make an impact on other people by how I live.


LG: Thank you very much, Ashley.

AB: Thank you! 

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