Jones sisters share a love for volleyball

FAIRBORN — Madison Jones has not gotten to see her sister, Ashlyn, play many times this season.

But when Madison has, it has always ended in great matches for Calvert.

Madison attends Wright State University, which is more than two hours away from home. It also happens to be the site of the OHSAA volleyball state championships.

Thursday, Madison got to see little sister Ashlyn and the Senecas blow past Portsmouth Clay at the Nutter Center at Wright State in the school’s first-ever state semifinal and now advance to Saturday’s state championship match.

“I absolutely love watching Ashlyn play. Because she’s the youngest of three, she’s got a super competitive spirit,” Madison said. “She’s worked her butt off her entire life to be the athlete she is. It makes me incredibly proud to see her playing at the varsity level as a sophomore. She’s such a strong all-around player, she hits well, blocks well, serves well, and passes well. She’s definitely something special.”

Madison admitted to skipping class Thursday, but for a good reason.

“My whole family and the entire community from the high school I graduated from will be in my college town and that is just crazy for me to think of,” Madison said. “I’ve driven over a hour at least for both of the games of Ashlyn’s I’ve seen, and now she’s just going to be right down the road from me. I might have to skip a class to see her, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Madison noted that she caught one regular season match and also saw the Senecas knock off Ayersville in the regional semifinals at Elida Nov. 1 — Ashlyn and Madison’s mother’s birthday. Meanwhile, Ashlyn, a sophomore, tallied a team-high 14 digs for Calvert (25-3) against Clay (24-4). She added four kills, three assists, and an ace late in the third game.

“I think it’s a very cool experience getting to play at Wright State while Madison is attending college there,” Ashlyn said. “I actually came down to Wright State for one of her volleyball tournaments and got to see the Nutter Center. It was really cool to be in there because I knew I wanted to play a game on that court. It’s also cool because we are actually from Dayton and grew up in the area that we’re playing so it’s kind of bittersweet. It makes it a lot easier for her to support me too and I like knowing that my family is there supporting me while I’m playing.”

Jones entered the match with a team-high 204 kills. She was second on the team with 55 aces.

“I think we all knew from the beginning that we could achieve what we put our minds to,” Ashlyn said. “Our team has a lot of young talent and some very talented upperclassmen. We definitely focus on one game at a time, but we knew that if we played as a team and kept ourselves focused that we would be able to make it far. We are very thankful to make it state, but’s it’s not enough. Now that we made it here we want to keep going and make history for Calvert as a team.”

The sport of volleyball is rooted deep in the Jones sisters.

“Ashlyn and I have always been super close because of our shared love for volleyball,” Madison said. “We’re four years apart so we never got to play on a school team together, but we have a volleyball net in our backyard at home and I can’t tell you how many times her and I have been back there playing volleyball with each other. Every time I’m home, she’ll bug me to go out in the driveway to pass with her if it’s too muddy in the backyard. Volleyball is a big part of both our lives.”

Madison, a sophomore at Wright State, played all four years of high school for the Senecas and now plays club volleyball for the Raiders.

“Madison and I have always bonded over volleyball,” Ashlyn said. “Without her I wouldn’t have started volleyball as soon as I did. We’d always be hitting the ball around or having games in our backyard because we had convinced my parents to put a net up back there.”

To see her sister on the court just minutes from where she now resides was a touching moment for Madison.

“It’s absolutely huge for my entire family that Ashlyn will be at the Nutter Center,” Madison said. “I’m there several times a week for classes, volleyball practice, and various events. It’s absolutely insane to me that now I’ll get to watch my sister play in the very same arena where I’ve watched Wright State’s basketball team play several times.”

And as for who is the better player?

“Well, we are both good at different things,” Ashlyn said. “Madison is a middle, so she is definitely better at blocking then I am but, I’d say my back row might be a bit better.”