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Meet the Dawgs: Ashlyn Carroll

RJ Craig | January 19, 2024

Everyone loves a surprise birthday gift. On Ashlyn Carroll’s birthday, she received such a gift from a friend. Only it wasn’t a tangible gift. Instead, it was an invitation to play hockey. 

The Canton, Georgia native did not grow up playing hockey, nor did she grow up ice skating. Instead, she played volleyball, starting in the fourth grade and playing competitively through middle school and high school; she also played on a travel volleyball team. 

Her first experience with hockey was in her sophomore year of high school when she and her family went to an Atlanta Gladiators minor league hockey game. There, she realized that hockey was a fun and entertaining sport to watch from the stands as a spectator. But never in her life did she think she would be playing it on the ice. 

At the end of her freshman year in college, that all changed. On Carol's 19th birthday, Bailey Lesko, a sorority sister of hers who is now also her teammate on the hockey team, gave her an offer she would never forget. 

“Do you want to play hockey?” Lesko asked. 

Playing hockey was probably the last thing on Carroll’s mind. But having not played volleyball since she entered college and wanting to try something new, she said, why not

So at the start of sophomore year, she laced up her skates for the very first time. 

Needless to say, Carroll was more accustomed to the leather ball and hardwood floors of volleyball than she was to the rubber puck and ice rink. But she persisted. And while it took some time to get there, she eventually learned how to skate. 

Not only did she learn how to skate, but she took it upon herself to play perhaps the most demanding position on the ice—goalie. 

Being the only goalie on the roster, Carroll cannot afford to miss any games, but in the short time she has played hockey, she has garnered such a passion for the sport that she is willing to miss other extracurriculars, like events for her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.

“[It’s] fine. I enjoy hockey,” Caroll stated. “I love this team.” 

It also helps that she and her teammates have all grown close to each other and have become like one big family. 

“It never ceases to amaze me how tight teams get, how much we bond with each other and really get to know each other,” Carroll expressed. “It's nice to know I have those people in my life outside of my sorority or outside of my roommates that are gonna have my back no matter what.”

About Carroll, teammate and assistant captain Hailey Hultberg said the following:  

“She's amazing. We love her. It's incredible what she's done. There's very few people that have never really skated before that just wake up one day and decide to play goalie. It's been awesome seeing her grow every single week and just getting better and better. And she just fully carries our team with her spirits and personality [every week].” 

Teammate Claire DeVito said that she “never would have known that [Carroll] didn't play before college because she's just so good.” 

While her teammates supported her from the start, her parents were initially shocked at her decision to play hockey, but she tried to calm their nerves and assure them it would be fun. Sure enough, only a little over a year into her short hockey career, her parents have become her biggest supporters, going to her games to cheer her on. 

Her devotion to hockey follows her off the ice, too. She now watches hockey games, observing NHL goalies to learn and emulate their form and technique. What’s more, she said that has “come to enjoy watching hockey more than I have college football.” 

And while hockey is her newfound love, football still has a place in her heart, since she came from a college football-crazed family that roots for the Dawgs. She grew up "bleeding red and black.” 

In the crease, she considers herself to be “pretty scrappy” and will do whatever it takes to stop the puck from getting past her. 

“I’ll stop [the puck] somehow. It may not be the most beautiful save ever, but, you know, I’ll get a leg or a hand on it.” 

Currently, the third-year journalism major loves playing for the team during her second year ever playing hockey. This summer, she plans to participate in a journalism internship with a focus on a communications or marketing-related career. 


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