Ashley Adams sacrificed her title as one of the area's best setters to make Wadena-Deer Creek better.
While that may sound counterproductive, Adams was asked to be a part-time setter, but a full-time threat for the Wolverines volleyball team. It was a move she figured was coming and one her coach said she's handled well.
"We knew after last year-she had an outstanding year last year with over 1,000 assists on the year alone-but we knew coming into this year she would have to help us as a hitter as well," W-DC head coach Sue Volkmann said. "She's really accepted that role. She's really given up a lot to help the team out.
"She's definitely a quality setter. She's the perfect setter for a 5-1, but in our situation, we needed her to be a hitter for us and she's embraced that role and has really been a good leader for us."
Adams' statistical lines prove she's doing everything she can to help W-DC. In a 3-0 victory over Pillager Oct. 4, Adams tallied 11 kills, 14 set assists, 10 digs, five ace serves and a block.
She collected 11 set assists, 10 kills and 10 digs in a win over Breckenridge Oct. 2.
"I think as the season has gone on, I've liked it a lot more now because I've gained confidence through practices and more games," Adams said. "I've gotten things under my belt and I think it's a lot better now. I'm starting to really like it.
"I think the most difficult part was probably knowing I wouldn't be setting all the way around. I love a 5-1 and I love setting in general. So going from my favorite thing in the world to having to hit also was probably the hardest. It was just accepting that I wouldn't be setting all the way around."
In a 3-2 loss to Barnesville, Adams finished with 15 kills, 24 set assists, 13 digs, four ace serves and a block. She registered 15 kills, 19 set assists, 10 digs, two ace serves and a block in a Park Region Conference win over Sebeka Oct. 11.
With one conference game and the Moorhead tournament left, W-DC is sitting at 10-8 overall and third in the North Subsection 6-1A standings.
But Adams has high hopes for her young team.
"My goals for this year are to make a long run into playoffs and hopefully go to state again," Adams said. "I wanted to win our conference, and I know we did not do that. That's kind of hard, especially being a senior and winning it the last couple of years. It's been kind of hard to accept that.
"I also wanted to finish with a good record, which this year has been a little hard. We haven't had the best season, but if we can get things together and take what we've learned from all of our losses and apply it to our game then we can turn our season around and do well in the playoffs."
So far this season, Adams has 155 kills, 174 digs, 24 ace serves, 14 blocks and 277 set assists. She surpassed 2,000 career set assists earlier this season.
Those numbers are made more impressive considering Adams has never played anything other than the setter.
"I think she's really had to work at it because she's never been a hitter," Volkmann said. "All the way through, she's always been a setter-and a quality one at that. Last year's team, she just stuck with the setting and then coming into this year she had to pick up the skill and has had to learn a lot. It's a different kind of situation for her, but she's really done well.
"I just really appreciate her giving up that role as an exclusive setter and to step up and become a hitter for us. That's quite a thing to give up when she's that quality of a player. I really appreciate what she's done."
Last season, in helping W-DC finish fourth in the Class 1A state tournament, Adams finished with 1,062 set assists, 214 digs, 47 kills, 33 blocks and 14 ace serves on 93 percent serving.
According to Volkmann, Adams is a 4.0 GPA student with an eye toward a medical field, but she may not be ready to give up on volleyball just yet.
"There have been options that have arisen for me to continue my volleyball career," Adams said. "I'm still trying to decide if I want to. I love volleyball a lot and I would love to continue in college, but I would just be looking for the right college for me, that I could be a student and participate in athletics. It will just depend on the right school that would give me that opportunity."