Cardinals libero Ashlyn Leon is used to standing out on the court in her uniquely colored shirt, and this year’s team photo had her front and center to indicate both her longtime role on the court and her lone senior standing in the locker room.
Although more than two-thirds of her roster is underclassmen, head coach Monica Wright was not worried about putting too much on her defensive captain because “just having one senior that everyone loves and wants to play hard for is enough.”
Leon, who says she is not a vocal leader, earned her teammates’ love and respect by never taking for granted the starting libero spot she earned as a freshman. It's no surprise that Leon described her leadership style as “leading by example by always giving it my all, staying positive, and pushing others to do their best.”
Wright told her lone senior to “be as vocal as you want, but if that’s not you then we are just happy that we know what we are getting with you.”
Following Leon’s lead has worked for the Cardinals, propelling them to a 13-2 record this season. The team will face two ranked opponents, #12 Carnegie Mellon and #18 Transylvania, at home this weekend before starting conference play against Mount Union on Oct. 4.
Leon started the season with 1,626 career digs, third in program history. The four-year starter is now averaging more than four digs a set with 14 matches left in the regular season.
Wright said, “It’s going to be strange to not look out and see her with the different colored shirt on after four years ... I think we’ll be, in some ways, a completely different team without her.”