With a few quick strokes of a pen, Northern Cambria senior Ashley Hogan took the next step toward continuing her volleyball career.

Flanked by her parents, Mike and Terry Hogan, Ashley Hogan signed a national letter-of-intent on Tuesday to play volleyball at the University of Maryland.

The signing caps a whirlwind career at Northern Cambria that culminated with a PIAA Class A championship that the Colts captured on Saturday.

“You have to go to school first and play volleyball second,” Mike Hogan said. “You don’t play volleyball then choose a school. You pick the school that you fall in love with first, and for Ashley that was Maryland.”

The decision to choose Maryland based on its academic standards along with its athletic reputation was approved by the whole family.

“She’s the type of kid that doesn’t keep to herself in a corner,” Terry Hogan said. “She likes to be vocal and is her own person. To go to a good school with excellent programs and one that is far enough away where she can be her own person but close enough where we can get to her if needed, all of those come together at the University of Maryland. I’m very happy that she chose Maryland.”

With a squad that reminded Ashley Hogan of her teammates at Northern Cambria, the decision was an easy one for the 6-foot-1 outside hitter.

“It’s where I wanted to be,” Ashley Hogan said. “It’s a great place to go to school because it’s a half-hour from D.C. and a half-hour from Baltimore. The level of play is going to be higher but the team reminds me so much of my high school and club teams that it makes me very comfortable.”

Hogan, who was one of four Colts named to the District 6 Class A all-district team, is undecided on a major, but is leaning toward industrial engineering. While she is uncertain about playing as a true freshman, she’ll start attending classes at the campus in College Park, Md., in January while participating in spring activities with the team.

The Terrapins have won the last two Atlantic Coast Conference titles and sit atop the standings this season.

Her father, who was also her coach at Northern Cambria, played Division I volleyball at Penn State from 1984-88, garnering all-East honors before taking the reins of the Colts’ program in 1989. Even with volleyball in the bloodlines, the decision to play was never out of Ashley’s hands.

“There came a point in every season that I played where he sat me down and said ‘You know, you don’t have to do this,’ ” Ashley Hogan said. “It’s so much fun and I’ve had great experiences with my friends and teammates that I’m very excited to pursue in college.”

Mike Hogan saw her love for the game early on.

“When she was a baby she was coming with me to all of my games,” he said. “She was always hitting the ball around in the yard. As a father and a coach I’m very proud her and excited to see her get a chance to make her own name at Maryland.”

Shawn B. Curtis can be reached at 532-5080 and scurtis@tribdem.com.

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