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Bishop Shanahan Eagles
Greg Ashman
220 Woodbine Road
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
  My Site News: Ashman's Eagles soar to perfection  

Wednesday, December 23
Ashman's Eagles soar to perfection

There can be no dispute that Bishop Shanahan's Greg Ashman is the 2009 Daily Local News Volleyball Coach of the Year. For the Eagles' veteran coach, it marks the second time in the last four years that he has received the honor - the first being in 2006.

Three years ago, Shanahan finished as undefeated Ches-Mont champion, one of the top four teams in District 1 Class AAA and one of the elite teams in the state. This year's team took it even higher. The Eagles won the Ches-Mont League title, took first in the District 1 playoffs and then capped the season with a state championship.

"We knew right out of the gate that we had the talent to compete at a high level," said Ashman, who had previously coached volleyball at Rosemont College and has been at the Eagles' helm for the last six years. "We had a lot of good hitters. There was Emily (Carlin) and Amanda (Nickels), and we also had Maria (Ficca).

"So to get Maria in there, we concentrated more on a right side attack. We knew there had to be a spot on the court for someone with that kind of talent. And we knew that Susan (Frick) was a hitter that needed to be on the court too."

With power hitters like Carlin, Nickels, Frick, Ficca and Nicole Lott, along with a standout defensive specialist like Julie Joyce and one of the premier setters in the state in Katie Pisano, the 2009 Shanahan squad was a team with no weaknesses. The Eagles were also bolstered by a strong group of reserves that included Grace Capuzzi, Summer Jaros, Clare Keating and Nicki Ruszkay.

"A big key this year was that we were able to avoid major injuries," said Ashman, who competed in football and track at Archbishop Carroll High School in Wayne. "And we had a lot of backup players which helped during the postseason."

Ashman began his coaching career with the women's club team at Millersville University when he and his wife Ann were students there. He now coaches club volleyball and has his own business (GMA Volleyball) which is involved in presenting volleyball camps, clinics and leagues.

Also contributing to the Eagles' success this season were head junior varsity coach Brian Smith and team assistant coaches Mimi Deritis, Michele Lott, Jackie Smith and Pat Rucker.

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