Senior Spotlight Q&A with Ashley Gonzalez from Half Hollow Hills High School

This week, Back Of The CAGE caught up with the #8 ranked senior attacker on Long Island and the returning 2nd Team Media All Back Of The Cage Team selection in 2019 from Half Hollow Hills High School, Ashley Gonzalez for our weekly Senior Spotlight series interviewing a new senior each week.

The University of Florida signee has undeniably been the leader of Hills squad since starting as an eighth grader with her knack for scoring goals (208 in her career) and being a distributor averaging 20+ assists per season. With that said, Ashley is only 8 points shy from reaching the 300 career point milestone which will most likely happen on opening day, yet the 5 year varsity starter is more concerned with winning. Gonzalez has earned All County three consecutive seasons and has proven to be one of the best on Long Island and she wants to go out with a bang making a deep run in the playoffs. With Ashley at the x, you can be sure she will do everything she can to win and will likely reach 400 career points based on her determination, work ethic and the play maker that she is. See below to get a closer look at the 2x Captain:

Q&A w/ Ashley Gonzalez

Back Of The CAGE (BOTC): For the past four years, you have consistently been the leader of your team and have improved your game in every statistical category with an average of ~73 Points per year but your best season which was last year, you put up 92 points - 5th most in Suffolk County. What keeps you motivated to constantly improve your game and what individual goals do you have for yourself this season?
Ashley Gonzalez (AG): My goal going into every season is for our team to get better and for us to make the playoffs because once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. Individually, my coach has mentioned that I am very close to approaching the 300 point mark in my career. I would love to have a better season as a senior than last and possibly hit the 400 point mark at Hills.

BOTC: This team lost a few key contributors but has some key returners from all grade levels and positions. With less than 30 days until to season and winter training having begun, what are the expectations/goals for the 2020 season?
(AG): Even though we are young and relatively inexperienced, our team is very driven to have a much better year this year and to make the playoffs. I believe that we can get better in every aspect of the game and with some luck, maybe we can be amongst the top teams in the county.

BOTC: You were only a freshman when you committed to the University of Florida. What was that experience like for you to be recruited at such a young age and what led to your decision which you have not wavered from? Also, what other colleges were you considering?
(AG): It was definitely a stressful experience having to think so far into my future, especially as a freshman, but it was also exciting because I was starting to make my dream a reality. The University of Florida has a mix of everything I was looking for: great academics, competitive sports, experienced coaches, and warm weather. I was also considering Boston College, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, and a few others, but I knew that UF was the school for me from the start.

BOTC: What is your most memorable moment thus far?
(AG): I’ve had many memorable moments throughout my high school career, but one that stands out to me is from my 8th grade season when we beat Northport. We were huge underdogs in that game, and being so young, I had no idea how dominant Northport really was. In the end, we pulled out with a win. It was the first time in my coaches career that they had beaten Northport so not only was it special to our team, but it was special to our coaches as well.

BOTC: What is your favorite quote or saying from Coach Lori Horbach?
(AG):Today is a great day to have a great day

BOTC: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions before games?
(AG): For every game, I have to wear my hair in a high ponytail with black pre-wrap. The pre-wrap has to be black or I’m convinced my whole game is thrown off. If it’s any other color, I won’t wear it.

BOTC: What’s on your playlist before games?
(AG): Our team’s playlist consists of a mix of rap music and a bunch of remixes to pop songs to get us pumped up before each game.

Rapid Fire Q & A's:

  • Favorite Food? Steak
  • Favorite Movie? The Blind Side
  • Favorite Sports Team? New York Jets
  • Favorite Athlete? Steph Curry

See some of Ashley Gonzalez's Athletic Accomplishments below: Ranked Top 25 Senior on Long Island, Voted Preseason 2nd Team All Back Of The Cage (2020), 2nd Team All BOTC (2019), 5th in Goals in Suffolk County (2019), 6th in Points in Suffolk County (2019), 3x All County (2017, 2018, 2019), All Division (2018), Suffolk County Rookie of the Year (2018)

Check back in a week to meet Jack Cavaioli from Farmingdale High School.