BUTLER, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Aslyn Pry’s life these days is one big balancing act.
Two sports. Two jobs. Unlimited ambition.
(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rose Photography)
The Moniteau graduate and sophomore at Butler County Community College doesn’t have much time to waste. When she’s not working on her volleyball game, she’s putting up shots on the basketball court or getting stronger in the weight room.
When she’s not logging hours while working in the BC3 athletic department, she’s serving up meals as a waitress at Texas Roadhouse.
Now with classes starting soon, Pry is gearing up for what she calls “grind time.”
“I feel like I have a good worth ethic,” Pry said. “I’ve always been like that, even back in high school. I’ve always put my time into things.”
And it’s shown in the results.
As a middle hitter last year, the 5-foot-10 Pry put up 199 kills, 59 blocks and added 60 digs and 25 aces.
She’s determined to be even better this season on a BC3 team that finished sixth at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III championships that season.
Two of Pry’s teammates, Breanna Reisinger and Morgan Jack, were named NJCAA All-Americans. Pry played so well that she could have been a third.
“She was all-conference and all-region and she was named to the all-tournament team at the national championships,” said Pioneer volleyball coach Rob Snyder. “She could have been an All-American, too. She’s capable of it.”
Snyder said Pry was really just scratching the surface on what she could do last season.
She expanded her knowledge of the game and the finer points of play at the net. She’ll be asked to play all around the court again this season.
“The first year, a lot of our kids who come from small schools, it takes time to get them up to speed,” Snyder said. “She’s advanced a lot since last year. We worked hard in the spring and we did stuff over the summer, and she looks like a different player than when she got here.
“We knew she could play the middle, but now she knows how to play the right side,” Snyder added. “We’ve worked on instead of hitting just one type of ball, she has eight or nine different swings off of one and two feet. She just has a better range of skills and we expect a lot out of her.”
Pry has always expected a great deal out of herself, in both volleyball and basketball.
“I feel like I have pressure on me, but it’s the pressure I’m putting on myself,” Pry said. “I want to do better than I did last year and I’m doing the best I can to be able to do that every day.
I’ve been working in all different positions, working on all the different hits and I can do those things quicker now,” Pry said. “I have a bigger arm.”
Pry is also surrounded by a wealth of talent. Six players return from last season and all were big contributors for the Pioneers, who finished 18-3 last season.
That wasn’t an easy task. There was no season in 2020 because of COVID-19, so every player on the roster was in their first-year of college volleyball in 2021.
The team meshed quickly, though. Now, with experienced players returning and a few newcomers who figure to make immediate contributions, the Pioneers are thinking big.
“I think we have a really good shot to get back to nationals,” Pry said. “We’re trying to do what we did last year, and hopefully finish better.”
Pry will have her work cut out for her to improve upon what she did for BC3 on the basketball court last winter.
The forward was one of the best and most dominant junior college players in the county.
She led the nation in rebounding with a staggering 19.6 rebounds per game — the next closest player had 14.9 — and was fourth in Division III in scoring at 23.2 points per contest.
Pry finished the season with 6.3 offensive rebounds and 13.2 defensive boards per game — both tops in the country.
She also had 3.2 blocks and 3.2 assists per game last season.
Pry, however, ignores the huge numbers she posted as much as possible.
“I can’t look at the stats,” Pry said. “Yes, I’m going to try to get my numbers as high as I can and do the best that I can for my team, but what I want is wins and championships. I want to put numbers on the banner. That’s what I’m looking to do here.”
Pry tries to weave basketball in during the fall with volleyball.
That’s not always easy — or prudent.
Volleyball is her prime focus, she said, in season. Basketball skill work is done when she has the time and she tries not to overdue it.
“I want to be the best that I can be for volleyball,” she said. “I don’t want to do too much basketball work and tire myself out and get injured. I try to get better a little bit each day.”
Pioneer basketball will look a lot different this winter. Longtime coaching legend Dick Hartung, who coached men’s program for 29 years and women’s basketball program for 12 years at the school, retired.
Assistant coach Lydia Roth will take over the women’s head coaching job.
“I’m very upset that he’s leaving,” Pry said. “But with Lydia, the program is in good hands. She’s a great coach.”
Pry is also getting a great deal of experience working for Snyder, who is also the athletic director at BC3.
Snyder gives Pry a lot of responsibility, which Pry gladly accepts.
“I make jokes about it all the time, that I’m doing all the work,” Pry said, chuckling. “I love it. I want to learn everything I can.”
That’s because Pry would like to one day be a physical education teacher, athletic director and a coach.
“I’m getting all the experience I can now to see what I like,” Pry said.
As of now, though, Pry isn’t sure about her next step after BC3.
She doesn’t lack options.
Pry could play at a four-year school in either volleyball or basketball as she finishes up her degree.
“I don’t know yet,” Pry said, grinning. “I’m working on it. It’s to the point where I’m trying to focus on this year, but the time to make a choice is definitely creeping up. I need to start making a decision.”