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Eagles' star signs with JMU

November 20, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Hedgesville senior Ashley Copenhaver may someday have a better four-day span than these last four, but it won't be easy.

On Saturday, the Eagles' volleyball star helped lead Hedgesville to the first state championship in team history. She followed that up on Tuesday afternoon by announcing she has received a full scholarship to James Madison University, where she will continue her career at the NCAA Division-I level.

"Nothing but good stuff has been happening since the volleyball season started," Copenhaver said. "It's the only school I looked at. It's got a good team. Everyone I talk to says good things about the programs and the academic program."

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Copenhaver made her decision in the middle of the Eagles' season, but decided not to announce her decision at that point.

"I didn't verbally commit," she said. "I didn't tell anyone in the middle of the season."

When asked if she kept her decision secret in order to avoid distracting the team in its run to the state title, Copenhaver nodded. According to Eagles coach Susan Davis, that non-verbal form of leaderdship is typical of Copenhaver.

"She leads by example, not so much verbally, both on and off the court," Davis said.

Copenhaver had a decorated career at Hedgesville, leading the Eagles to the state tournament each of the past three seasons. Hedgesville reached the state semifinals in the two seasons prior to this season.

In doing so, Copenhaver was named West Virginia Player of the Year in 2001 - an honor she will likely win again - and was a Herald-Mail All-Area selection in 2000 and 2001.

"She has been kind of the cornerstone (of the team) with her competitiveness," Davis said. "She's someone (her teammates) can look up to. She's the cream of the crop."

In choosing JMU, Copenhaver said she wanted to stay close to home.

"My family, we're real close," Copenhaver said. "It's a big family, and I'm really close to them. It's a great volleyball team, a great school and it's only an hour-and-a-half away."

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