Ashley Johnson, native of Tallahassee, has made significant improvements on the volleyball court this season. Johnson is a 20 year-old sophomore and outside hitter on the Florida A&M volleyball team. Having a year to get acclimated with the team after her transfer last year, Johnson is working hard to get noticed on the court.
She has been playing volleyball for five years and she was introduced to the game in middle school.
“I just tried out. It was something new. The coach from the high school came to my middle school and I ended up being the only freshmen on the varsity team,” Johnson said.
After she graduated from Lincoln High School, Johnson spent a year at another college and returned home because she missed the familiar setting. It also didn’t hurt that her father went to FAMU. She has been around the orange and green culture all her life.
Johnson said volleyball is a lot more difficult at the collegiate level. “No one is learning at this point, their working to perfect,” Johnson said.
Friend and teammate Bianca Rucker 20, from Marietta Ga. said, “Ashley is a silent killer on the court. She is quiet but sometimes she can get fired up.”
Head coach Tony Trifonov said Johnson is still very young. This is her first year starting as a sophomore, and Trifonov said there is a lot more room for improvement.
“She has improved a lot over the last year and a half that she has been with the team. She just needs to diversify some of her shots offensively, but she is definitely helping us to score some points,” Trifonov said. He also mentioned that Johnson doesn’t play back row anymore and is mostly a front row player this year.
Johnson is pursuing an occupational therapy degree and she said she chose the field because of its correlations to sports.
“I chose to do occupational therapy because I am an athlete and I feel that they are directly related,” Johnson said.
Even though school and volleyball are at the top of her list, Johnson still takes time to hang out with her friends and catch up on much needed rest after 20 hours of practice a week.