Women's Volleyball
From Student-Athletes to Students

Nov. 10, 2005

They hate to use clichés, but its hard not to. "I learned life lessons." "It was a character building experience." "I made life long friends." It has shaped who I am today."

When the final point is scored in Georgetown's match against Seton Hall on Sunday, it will mark the end to the collegiate careers of Rachel Nelson and Ashley Lancaster. On Monday, they make the transition from student-athlete to student.

They have been waiting four years for this day. The day they don't have to set an alarm. Rachel says she has had "alarm clock anxiety" for the last four years, always worried that for some reason the alarm clock wouldn't ring, and she would be late to practice. On Sunday night, Rachel will sleep soundly with her alarm clock in the off position.

Today, we talk about Rachel and Ashley as a "they," but they didn't think it would ever be that way. When they arrived on the Hilltop from California and Alabama, respectively, in the fall of 2002, they never would have guessed that they would be friends, nevermind as close as they are now. It was part of this experience of playing volleyball, getting to know people that you might not have otherwise even spoken to. Last fall, the two became roommates and its been pure comedy ever since. They make each other laugh, they finish each other's thoughts, and they think their apartment would make a great reality television show. "They" are best friends brought together by Georgetown volleyball.

It really has been a growing experience for them. During their freshman year, Rachel worried about Ashley because Ashley was feeling homesick. But, she started to make friends, learned there was so much to do in Washington, D.C., kept busy with volleyball and school work and that homesickness went away. This year as seniors they saw another freshman volleyball teammate battled homesickness, and there were Rachel and Ashley as teammates, helping her through it just like they did for each other four years earlier. That is what it has been about for Rachel and Ashley, the friendships.

With their volleyball careers coming to a close, these two seniors are looking forward to second semester. Rachel is taking three classes, is going to enjoy being a student, and is looking forward to getting a pedicure. Ashley is enrolled in four classes, is in no big hurry to figure out what's next, and might even try to play with the team in the spring a little bit since she didn't get to play this season due to her torn achilles. Rachel may look into working with her father and real estate in California. Ashley knows she wants to be a teacher and is going to go to graduate school for her master's, in the meantime she will probably go home to Alabama, which will make her mom happy. Either way, they are both going to take some time to enjoy themselves.

Through all the hard times of balancing school and volleyball, they are glad they toughed it out. They pushed themselves in ways they never thought possible. They are glad they got to experience all of the clichés.



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