Ashley Sullivan is a Team Player

By Stacy Drector

St. Mary’s senior shooting guard Ashley Sullivan has many favorite memories from her four years playing on the varsity basketball team.  Ranking high on her list are team sleepovers, playing in a tournament in Florida, “beating Fenwick and Williams in the play-offs and winning both the Spartan Classic and Lynn City Tournament.”  Playing basketball since third or fourth grade in Peabody, Ashley reminisces on her high school career.  “It seems like yesterday that I was a freshman.  It’s sad that it’s my last season, but I wanted to make my last ride a good one to remember.  There’s nothing to lose because this was my last go around so I had to leave everything I had on the court and do everything I could for the team and the girls.”

When asked to describe the team’s dynamic, she said, “We have a strong system.  Seventeen seems like a large number for a roster, but each girl has a unique role on this team.  Everyone pushed each other to be better.  There was a lot of competition between everyone and we were happy for each other when one of us got an opportunity.  The girls are friends on and off the court.  Freshmen are friends with seniors; there’s no separation.  We know when to joke and when to be serious.  The coaches have different roles as well.  Coach Tim gives us that push and rough edge that we need to work hard.  Coaches Jalbert and Foley give us the confidence and motivation to believe in what we’re working for everyday.  Coach Newhall ties it all together by sacrificing everything for us and putting us first.”   Assistant Coach Victoria Ault said, “Ashley was one of the first players I took notice of. She was always at practice well before start time, led the team through action and was truly a team player.  Sully is a rare player.  She is one that never complains about the minutes she gets in a game, but does the most with the opportunities she gets.  She has made some impactful plays for us in crucial times this season.  Her leadership and personality will be missed on the team next year, but wherever she goes and whatever she does, Ashley has a successful future ahead of her.”

Not many high school players can say they have played at historic Boston Garden, but Ashley can.  The team beat Archbishop Williams 62-59.  “The experience at the Garden was unbelievable.  It was a lot to take in: the crowds, the atmosphere and playing our rival that we lost to twice during the regular season. We blocked it out the best we could.  The support we received from the school and parents was remarkable and the connection and communication we had between the girls that game was like no other.  1 through 17 were in the game.”

Playing for the championship in Worcester against Hoosac Valley High School was a memorable experience, even though the team lost.  “It was the furthest we had gone in my four years.  We tried to do what we’ve been doing all year because it clearly was working.  We took it step by step and each girl did what she needed to do to prepare.  We were heavily supported by fans and our parents, and that helped us a lot.  It was a great experience traveling to Worcester and going through this with girls that I call more than teammates.  It didn’t end how we wanted, but it was quite a ride.”

With graduation day quickly approaching, Ashley Sullivan wants to thank the numerous people in her playing career.  “Thank you to Coach Newhall for the best four years and for everything you have done for me.  Thank you to the St. Mary’s community for the support this past year.  Thank you to the girls for being the best friends I could ask for along this ride.  I especially want to thank seniors Pam, Ellie and Ace for pushing and motivating the girls so our last season was our best.   Lastly, a big thank you to St. Mary’s for everything you have done for the team and me.  I am excited to see what the girls accomplish next year and will most definitely come back to check in on you.”

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