FORT WAYNE – No matter whose racket Ashley Hoagland is using, the Carroll senior has always played tennis the same way – all out.
Ashley’s game is phenomenal, said Carroll coach Kyle Stoffel, whose No. 10 Chargers face top-ranked Carmel in the state quarterfinals at 3 p.m. today. If I had seven Ashleys, we would be at state every single year.
She just wears you down. She doesn’t miss, and she doesn’t show emotion, negative or positive. She does what every person playing tennis should do, and that’s get that ball back in any way possible.
That tenacity has served Hoagland well, be it playing singles or doubles the last four years.
I am pretty quick, so I can usually get to most of the balls, Hoagland said. I get to some balls that my opponent wouldn’t think I could get to, I hit them over and have them mess up.
That style was evident from her freshman year when Hoagland borrowed her mother’s 1980s-era tennis racket for tryouts at Carroll.
She played when she was younger, and I didn’t really have my own, but it didn’t really bug me, Hoagland said of the racket.
Hoagland made the team and played No. 2 singles her first season, then went to No. 2 doubles as a sophomore and returned to No. 2 singles as a junior. As a senior, she has helped the Chargers to a historic season with the school’s first regional and semistate titles in the same week.
The last two years, Carroll won its first two NHC championships.
She was raw as can be but still had the same mentality, Stoffel said of a younger Hoagland.
After growing up on a diamond, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see her bringing a softball bat to the tennis tryout.
I always thought I would play softball, but once I got to middle school, I started to change my mind, Hoagland said. I realized I liked it a lot better, and I am glad I picked tennis. Softball is you hit it and run a little bit, and this is constant movement and I like that, and I like the one-on-one aspect.
I am not going to play in college, but I am going to continue to play tennis.
An All-District singles player, Hoagland (25-2) has a 79-17 career record at Carroll and could finish the season with the second-most wins in school history. Ashley Liles currently has the school record at 85-14, but junior No. 1 singles player Rachel Sutton (66-11) will more than likely take the top spot next year, bumping Hoagland to No. 3.
She is our unsung hero for the whole season, and even for the last four years, Stoffel said of Hoagland.
She just goes about her business, quietly.