April 21, 2010
Grant Abston, Texas Media Relations
As a heavily recruited senior out of Yorba Linda, Calif., Ashley Engle had her eyes on many college volleyball programs across the country.
Engle turned her eyes to The University of Texas -- a program on the rise, and one she felt she could help rebuild. Four years later, Engle leaves as one of the most decorated players in school history, and she helped the program become a powerhouse.
"I think it's just the pride of representing such a great university," Engle said when asked about what she likes most about being a Longhorn. "I think especially for volleyball, we've gotten better every single season I've been here, and I think that that was something that was really important to me, was coming to a team that had that potential to continue to improve."
Over her four-year career, Engle and her fellow seniors helped lead Texas to a 107-16 overall record while posting a 72-8 mark in the Big 12 Conference. Engle and fellow seniors Destinee Hooker and Heather Kisner exit as the winningest class in school history with a .870 winning percentage while leading UT to the fourth round or further in the NCAA tournament all four years, including an appearance in the National Championship game in 2009, where Texas fell to Penn State, 3-2.
Engle appeared in 406 sets and 116 matches in four seasons, becoming the only player in UT history to rank in the top 20 all-time in career kills, hitting percentage, assists, points, digs, total blocks and block assists. After earning first-team All-America honors in 2008 at opposite hitter, Engle made a smooth transition to setter prior to her senior season where she again earned first-team All-America honors, her third career selection.
But the individual awards mean little to Engle when looking at the bigger picture.
"I think it's great but that stuff is kind of a bonus to me," Engle said. "I didn't come to Texas to win individual awards, I came here to have a college athletic experience and I think that was the most important thing. I've had some of the best teammates I think that I'll ever have."
The two-time team captain helped lead UT to three Big 12 Championships while being named a four-time All-Big 12 First Team selection. She also was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team and NCAA All-Omaha Regional Team honors in 2009. Engle's success also translated off the court, where she earned Academic All-Big 12 Conference Second Team honors her final two seasons.
Engle has not only successfully transformed the UT volleyball program, she has fallen in love with the city she's called home for the past four years -- a place she does not look forward to leaving.
"I've fallen in love with Austin, sports or no sports," Engle said. "I love the people, I love the atmosphere, there's so much to do and I've definitely been able to explore and experience that so much more this semester since volleyball hasn't been as big as a factor. I'll pretty much miss everything."