VERONA, NJ - Last week she tallied 15 kills and six blocks to lead the Verona Hillbillies volleyball team, while also contributing behind the service line with 11 service points and four aces.  Ashley Duhaney is the TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week.

Always a strong team, VHS volleyball is off to a solid 9-3 start on the season under the helm of new coach Ryan Brown and Duhaney has been a key contributor as middle blocker.  Though Brown is new to Verona, he is not new to Duhaney having coached her previously.

“When the season first started we found out Coach Brown was going to be our coach and he was my coach on my club team when I was in 8th grade,” Duhaney explained.  “I know his coaching style and I know how he interacts with players. He’s a very good coach, so I was very excited -- we all were. I started the season with high hopes and so far things have been really good.”

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Only a sophomore, this is Duhaney’s first year starting varsity and she’s excited to be contributing on the court.  

“I think coach has really helped me block better and improve my game,” Duhaney said.  “I hope to get more involved on the court as the season progresses.”

A true team player, Duhaney credits several of her teammates when asked about the strength of this year’s team.

“We have some really strong hitters this year -- Patricia Rakova and Megan Meehan are great.   Also, our defense has really come together -- a lot of the juniors and seniors are returning varsity players, so they have strong skills and chemistry,” Duhaney said.  “And of course there’s Kelly Waterman who’s all over the court and always so great as a setter.”

Looking ahead, Duhaney said she’s looking forward to the annual Dig Pink game against Cedar Grove on October 23 which always draws a big crowd and hopes that Verona bring home another state title.  

“I think our biggest challenge this season has been adjusting to each other.  We haven’t played together as long as other teams, so we’re getting used to each other,  but I think we’re rising to the challenge,” Duhaney said. “We are striving to win another Group 1 State Championship and I think we can do it again.” 

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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