A Small Adjustment


Ed Strong

SCC Volleyball Player Proves Size Doesn’t Matter

It wouldn’t be surprising at all for Ashley Cordero to be an athlete. A middle infielder, a defensive specialist, or almost any position on a soccer field other than goalie.

Outside hitter in volleyball is not a position that would come to mind.

The 5’4” freshman can be hard to spot among her front-row teammates, with every other regular hitter for SCC standing at least half a foot taller. She’s the shortest player to be averaging at least one kill per set in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) North Division, with only one other player even under 5’7”.

“(Cordero) is bubbly and energetic, always helping getting the rest of the team hyped up,” said freshman Emily Pan, who’s on a team with Cordero for the third year in a row, having played on the same club team with the Washington Volleyball Academy. “She’s the glue of our team, on and off the court.”

SCC Outside hitter Ashley Cordero keeps her eye on the ball. Photo by Lance Allegro / The Ebbtide

Attacking isn’t the only thing she has brought to SCC volleyball. On Sophomore Day vs Skagit Valley last Friday she even belted the national anthem.

Cordero actually has played front row before, starting in U14 club volleyball. She played outside hitter until she came to SCC, but committed to the Phins as a defensive specialist, which is relatively common for undersized players to do when moving up a level in competition.

A 0-6 start for the team and an injury to one of their starting outside hitters forced the SCC coaching staff to think outside the box. One of those adjustments? Trying out different hitters in the front, including Cordero.

She’s responded by posting the third-highest kill total on the team, including a season-high 12 when SCC nearly beat division champion Whatcom in late September. But the unexpected transition back to hitting hasn’t been easy.

“With my club team, I had the same setter for a couple of years,” Cordero said. “Suddenly having to get used to two new setters (sophomore Skyler D’Urso and freshman Cierra Pratt) was a really big adjustment.”

Co-Head Coach Mark West is impressed by the way Cordero is able to overcome her height disadvantage to have an impact on matches.

“She hits the ball really late and aims high,” Co-Head Coach Mark West said. “She hangs up in the air and lets the blockers go down a little bit … I don’t know how she does it.”

“I try to tool the block a lot,” Cordero said. Tooling is defined as hitting the ball off the side of the blockers and out of bounds.

In just her first quarter at SCC, Cordero hasn’t made a long-term decision on what she plans to do with her education, but is interested in studying either dental hygiene or dermatology.