GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former outside hitter Ashley Muench, a 2018 graduate from UNC Greensboro, recently signed a professional contract to finish out the season for Mirdita Volley in Albania.
Muench, a four-year standout for the Spartans, ended her collegiate career with 1,540 kills (3.45 kills / set) and a .213 hitting percentage after making 4,285 total attacks. She also made her presence felt on defense with 1,008 digs (2.26 digs / set) and 205 total blocks (148 assisted blocks / 57 solo blocks).
The Hurdle Hills, N.C., native played in 446 sets in her UNCG career and ended her career by ranking in the top five of three single-match categories, since the 2003 season. Three of those single-match highs were established in a match at Mercer on Oct. 28, including service aces (4; t-3rd), attacks (66; 3rd) and kills (24; t-4th). Mench put together her best defensive performances against Southern Conference foes Western Carolina (27 digs) and Furman, where she tied for the third-most solo blocks in the last 15 years (three).
“For me is not as much "a memory" of a specific time or a specific place that I take away from my experience playing there, rather a feeling that I will forever seek as well as cherish,” said Muench of her time at UNCG. “The feeling of joy, excitement, victory, comradery, and intensity while playing high-level volleyball. That feeling I will always carry with me, and hold onto dearly, no matter where I play.”
Muench is the second player to reach the professional ranks after playing under UNCG head coach Corey Carlin. She joins Katherine Santiago (’16), who also competed in professional volleyball after Carlin’s tutelage. In total, UNCG volleyball has produced six players that reached the professional ranks, including Karrian Chambers (’14), Olivia Humphries (’13), Branagan Fuller (2006-08) and Caley Redden (2006-09), who reached the AVP beach tour.
“Coach Carlin’s focus on ball control made me a better all-around player, which I am very thankful for,” said Muench of Carlin’s coaching techniques.
“This opportunity for Ashley to play professionally is very well-earned,” said Carlin. “She is a tireless worker and used that work ethic to truly became an extremely good all-around player during her time here. She loves the game, playing every chance she gets, and also continues to stay in great physical condition so there’s no doubt that Mirdita Volley is getting a very strong and capable player. Ashley continues to build on her impressive legacy at UNCG and we are tremendously proud of her.”
Chambers, who played professionally in Rethymnon, Greece for the Rethymno Volleyball Club, completed a four-year stint at UNCG from 2010-13 by competing in 367 sets while amassing 1,136 kills (3.10 kills / set), 832 digs (2.27 digs / set) and 114 total blocks (12 solo blocks). Three of those seasons she spent playing alongside Humphries, who missed 2011 due to an injury. Humphries, who played for the Hungarian UTE team, finished her UNCG career with 418 sets played, 1,083 kills (2.59 kills / set), 429 digs (1.03 digs / set) and 252 total blocks (24 solo blocks).
Santiago, a defensive specialist for the Spartans, played 397 sets under Carlin between the 2012-15 seasons. During her four-year stretch she recorded 1,752 digs (4.41 digs / set) and 24 kills. After her collegiate career, Santiago played professionally in Puerto Rico, where she competed the Norceca Continental Championship in 2017 and placed sixth in Group 2 of the World Grand Prix.
Fuller has played six seasons on the AVP circuit, earning nine top 10 finishes along the way, including a career-best third in 2014. She placed ninth on five occasions, seventh twice and fifth once in that span. Redden competed on the AVP circuit in 2010, 2013 and 2014, finishing with two Top-10s over the course of her career in 2014 (3rd) and 2010 (9th), which came in an AVP Young Guns competition.