After suffering a lower leg injury thought to be season-ending midway through her senior season, Bluestone High School’s Ashlyn Knott, the 2018 James River District Volleyball Player of the Year, worried the injury may hurt her chances to play at the next level.
The adversity turned into a triumph for Knott, who not only beat her timetable for recovery to compete in the postseason for the Lady Barons but also signed a letter-of-intent Feb. 28 to continue her volleyball career at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va.
Less than a week prior to the injury, Knott, a high-flying outside hitter, was in attendance for longtime Randolph-Macon head coach Bill Rogers’ 400th victory. The Yellow Jackets program is highly successful, having won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) regular-season championship the last six seasons.
Knott said everything clicked for her and Randolph-Macon after the visit.
“It felt like home,” she said. “All the people were nice and welcoming.”
Born in South Boston, Knott began playing organized team sports for the first time as a student at Bluestone Middle School, taking up volleyball and soccer in sixth grade and basketball a year later.
Sports was originally a means of making friends at her new school, but by seventh grade, when Claire Overstreet became the middle school coach, volleyball had taken hold as a major aspect of Knott’s life. She said Overstreet knew the basics of the game and taught her fundamentals well enough that by eighth-grade, Knott tried out for and made the JV team at Bluestone High School.
That’s also the year she began playing for the North Carolina Dominator Volleyball Club, for which she still competes to this day. Her travel ball coaches over the years have included Bobby Hawkins, Randy and Darlynn Oxendine, Toby Newcomb and Lynn Gill. Roger Poythress of the Lake Country Volleyball Association also played a large role in her development, she said.
The Oxendines took over as coaches at Bluestone High School Knott’s junior season. She said they helped the Lady Barons take their collective game to the next level.
“Volleyball is a game that doesn’t just depend on you,” Knott said. “You have to have everybody on the team supporting each other to be successful.”
Bluestone earned the No. 1 seed in Region 2A this past season, posting a 13-3 record in the James River District.
Ashlyn is the daughter of Cynthia and Ben Knott, of Clarksville. Her brother, Caleb, is a freshman at Bluestone.