MERIDEN — Ashlee Long had a big hand in Platt’s 12-1 volleyball campaign last fall as a steady outside hitter.
She will continue her career in college — as a libero — at Lasell University.
Long, 17, will study sports communications at the Division III school in Newton, Mass. She formalized her commitment at a signing ceremony this week.
“It feels really amazing,” Long said. “I love that I get the opportunity to continue playing.”
Long reached out to several schools throughout New England. It was Lasell where she felt most at home.
Long has been playing volleyball since the sixth grade. She plays on the club circuit for the Bristol Crush.
Looking ahead, she’s excited to be a defensive specialist in college.
“I love being a defensive player and having the chance to play libero in college. At 5-foot-5, I wasn’t tall enough to play outside at that level,” Long said. “I love the team aspect of volleyball and I fell in love with this sport early. I knew right away it was my sport and I wanted to play it.”
Platt coach Adam Viviano said Long’s defense is her biggest strength.
“She is great at serve-receive and has a great passer rating,” Viviano said. “She makes good read on the block and, when she’s in the back row, she can see where the hitters are going and will get a touch on the ball more times than not.”
Long is the daughter of Susan and Billy Long. Her younger sister Olivia was a freshman on the Platt varsity squad this year. The sisters were on the court together on a few occasions.
“I’m definitely really proud of Ashlee,” Viviano said. “She came to me at the beginning of the season and said playing in college was a possibility she was looking into. Because of that, I pushed her harder than I would have and she responded to that.
“Being a new head coach, every spot was open. She established herself as an outside. The skills she was lacking she improved on, and I think she will be ready at the next level.”
Viviano added that two other Platt volleyball seniors, Aaliyah Burnley and Jazmir Hudson, are also looking to play in college.