MATTOON — Mattoon outside hitter Ashlyn MacDonald was looking at a college close to home and hoped to continue playing volleyball. Lake Land volleyball coach Ashli Robison was looking for another right side hitter for the next two seasons. Both seemed to be a good fit for each other, and both wound up getting what they wanted.
On Tuesday, MacDonald verbally committed to play for Robison and the Lake Land volleyball team next season. MacDonald continues a string of Mattoon graduates who have gone on to play for the various Lake Land programs over the past few years.
"It feels like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It's very exciting," MacDonald said. "I went on my visit and I liked the campus and it is close to home. Also, I've talked to Avery Jackson and Lexi Rankin and they helped me with that decision."
MacDonald was looking at a couple of other schools, but Lake Land was always the top school in her mind.
"I really just wanted to go to Lake Land," MacDonald said.
Robison has been following MacDonald for the past couple of seasons and made her a target.
"We are super excited to have her and anyone can see why," Robison said. "She stands out and will play right side for us. She is comfortable here and is excited to stay close to home, and it's a good fit for us. It will work out well."
MacDonald has been playing at the varsity level for Mattoon for the past three seasons. She started to become a consistent force on the outside last season, and this season she developed into the top attacker for the Green Wave.
"They are getting not only a great volleyball player but a great student and a great person," Mattoon coach Mark Jackley said. "She's going to fit in well there. I was out there last week watching Emily (Watson) and Lexi and they are playing very well and I look forward to watching Ashlyn. She's going to step right in and be a major contributor early. I'm real happy for her, and it's great when the girls stay close and we get to watch them play."
MacDonald feels she can take another step forward and have an impact for the Lady Lakers right away next season on the right side.
"I hope I can be a good right side hitter and just play my part," MacDonald said. "They are a very good program."
Robison said MacDonald will work into the mix on the right side right away.
"Our depth on the right side (next year) is low. Adding Ashlyn and having Kristy Burford, who is coming into her own, along with Lexi, those options are nothing but good things for us," Robison said.