Featured Challenger Series Competitor: Ashley Simac

Formerly known as a Voth, Ashley is no stranger to the volleyball world. The product of two volleyball studs, it is no surprise that Ashley and her brother, Chris (currently competing in Finland), went on to do big things for Canadian volleyball. Both Ashley's dad and mom competed on championship CIAU teams; Lloyd, for the University of Manitoba Bisons and Val, for the Winnipeg Wesman.

Ashley went on to follow in her father's footsteps, where she had an amazing career as a Bison. She made waves immediately, becoming the CIS Rookie of the Year, and went on to be recognized as a 3-time CIS All Star, as well as a Bison Female Athlete of the Year. She competed with our Women's National Team for 4 years, where she met her husband, Adam Simac. And after completing her degree at U of M, they pursued their life overseas while continuing to compete. 

Check out more about Ashley below, and join us at Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre on Saturday, January 7th, to see her in action!

Club: Bison Volleyball Club
Post Secondary: University of Manitoba Bison’s ’06-‘11
Professional: Volley Lugano, Lugano Switzerland ’13-‘14
National Team: ’06 –‘10

When did you start playing volleyball, and what inspired you to play?

I think I started playing volleyball from the moment I could walk.  Coming from a family with 2 parents as volleyball players, I was around the gym from a very very young age.  My parents were heavily involved in coaching and playing senior men’s/women’s volleyball as long as I can remember.

Did your family have a big influence on your success?

Yes, I would say so! Because my parents were so involved in volleyball, dinner conversations took a whole new meaning in the Voth household.  Needless to say my parents were huge supporters of both Chris and I, and whatever we hoped to achieve our parents were behind us 100%!

When you look back at your career, what is the biggest highlight and is there one moment or memory that stands out?

The biggest highlight of the volleyball career was definitely the silver medal we earned with my Bison team 2009-2010 season.  Although losing the gold medal match to UBC, our team played the best volleyball we could have imagined.  Coming out of a national championship knowing that you could not have done anything differently gives me a feeling of great accomplishment.

Who was your biggest coaching influence and is there something they taught you that stood out and helped you through your volleyball career?

Ken Bentley.  Ken coached me from the Bison club at 16U all through 5 years of University.  I attribute most (or all) of my success of volleyball to Ken.  I think the biggest thing he taught me was self-discipline.  Being disciplined on the court, learning to play under pressure, learning to work hard off the court in the weight room, as well as learning to balance school, volleyball, family and social life all through university.  

What are you doing now to stay involved in the volleyball community?

I currently coach a U16 club team in Toronto call Unity.  This is my second year coaching club volleyball, starting with a U15 team the previous year.  I am also an assistant coach with Ryerson Women’s volleyball team.

If there is piece of advice you would pass along to athletes aspiring to play for the National team and abroad, what would it be?

Goal setting!  Volleyball is a sport that with hard work and determination dreams (goals) can be achieved.

I am also a firm believer of the importance of off-court training and the value that it can provide to athletes on court.

Anything else interesting you would like to share with us?

I spent the last 4 years supporting my husband (Adam Simac) and his volleyball career.  I lived in countries like Slovenia, Turkey, Switzerland, and France. Along the way, I got to play (Volley Luagno), but I also completed a Masters while overseas and a 4-month internship at The World Health Organization in Lyon, France.   Some of the highlights I got to enjoy along the way: many Champions League games, attend 2014 World Championships in Poland, 2015 Pan Am Games, as well as many World League Games.