Former Ashland High volleyball star Taylor Hartrick, who graduated from AHS in 2009 and attended the University of Hawaii-Hilo on a volleyball scholarship, is back in Ashland and considering joining the Southern Oregon University volleyball team.
Hartrick was a ferocious middle blocker for the Grizzlies, earning the Southern Sky Conference player of the year award in 2008. Her fantastic senior season helped her land a roster spot at Hawaii-Hilo, an NCAA Division II program, but it turned out to be an uncomfortable fit.
“I don’t want to put bad words on anyone, but I was not really a fan of the team there,” Hartrick said. “It was really the chemistry that wasn’t working for me there.”
Hartrick added that she wasn’t interested in any of the majors that Hawaii-Hilo offered. That, she said, was the main reason she decided to leave early.
Hartrick’s former coach at Ashland, Josh Rohlfing, is the head coach at Southern Oregon, which is coming off one of the best seasons in program history. The Raiders won the Cascade Conference tournament championship and advanced to the NAIA national championships final site.
Rohlfing’s teams typically develop fantastic chemistry, both on the court and off – something Hartrick has come to appreciate even more than before.
“I was planning on just letting volleyball go, playing recreationally after (leaving UW-H),” she said, “but then I thought about how Josh was coaching at SOU. … I’m still deciding if I want to.
“The only reason I even considered playing again is because I know he’s the coach here. He would only pick girls with the right kind of attitude. I know that it would require a lot of commitment. And all around, it would force me to get more organized with school, too, but it would also feed a fire that I know whenever I get on a volleyball court I have inside me. And (Rohlfing) has been able to feed that the best.”
Rohlfing said he’ll have to evaluate Hartrick during spring workouts to see if it’s a good fit.
“I think she has the potential to play here,” he said. “Right now, I haven’t seen her in over a year, so it’s difficult. The thing that she has that she was adept at was her blocking. Great timing, and she’s a leader and just a really good kid. All of those assets any team would want.”