MMA's Solari surges to 100 career points
May 3, 2017
By Matt Pulsifer, Sandwich Broadsider
Ashley Solari has been a fixture on the Upper Cape sports scene for a long time. After coming up through the youth program in Sandwich, Solari stared for the Lady Knights in both soccer and lacrosse before moving on to college.
She didn’t move very far.
A Massachusetts Maritime Academy senior, Solari is the squad’s captain, and this season became just the second player in program history to crack the 100 career point mark.
The Bucaneers season, and Solari’s college career, ended last weekend, but her journey is just getting started.
“I looked at a lot of different schools for lacrosse,” said Solari. “I was getting recruited by a lot of schools to play, but ultimately, because of the academics, I decided to play for Mass Maritime. It was an interesting choice because women’s athletics are just starting to grow here, and it wasn’t really an established program, but now they are getting more established and able to recruit more.”
Playing time was also a key factor for Solari’s decision. She played both soccer and lacrosse for the Buccaneers, but lacrosse was her best. The program, just in its third season when she arrived, was going through growing pains, but her experience was invaluable. “I have been able to play a lot in just about every game in both sports since my freshman year. Some of the other girls had never played before,” she said. “Now, we are getting a lot more experienced players so we can spend the pre-season discussing strategy and not just the basics of throwing and catching.”
Head coach Marc Palombo saw Solari’s potential early on as an assistant coach, and knew she was going to be successful. “She could have played at a lot of other Division 3 schools and probably competed at a Division 2 school if she wanted to,” he said. “She has done a tremendous job and has a real great family.”
Family was key to Solari’s success. “I wouldn’t be here today without my family,” she said. “My mom took me to all my practices and because I played club lacrosse off Cape she had to get up so early all the time to drive me far away to play. My dad is the one who pushed me to play lacrosse. I didn’t want to back then because I didn’t want to wear goggles and a mouth guard, but he pushed me and it’s something that I love. I wouldn’t be doing it without their support.”
Ashley’s brother also played college lacrosse at MMA, and has helped her in her journey. “He comes to all the games that he can,” she said. “He talks to me about what I need to work on and to do this and that. All of my family has been so supportive.”
The 100-point milestone was nearly broken on April 18 at home vs. Bridgewater State, but Solari came up one point short. Unfortunately, the next game was all the way out in North Adams, just about as far away as you can get in this state, but the significance of the moment was not diminished.
“That is quite an achievement,” said Palombo. “She might not have been here for the program’s first season, but she has been a really big part of the development of this program. I wish I had 10 or 12 more of her on the team.”
In high school, Solari played for Kelsy Beaton’s Sandwich squad, and learned a lot about the game from her high school coach. “She was the toughest coach I have ever had,” said Solari. “But that toughness helped me develop a mature attitude toward the game. She always pushed me to do my best and work as hard as I could.”
Solari was captain of the 2013 Atlantic Coast League championship team scoring 22 goals and 13 assists. “She was key in setting up our offense,” said Beaton. “She had a great sense of humor and was always smiling. She was a pleasure to coach.”
With sports now in the rear view mirror, Solari moves toward her career. The environmental tech major hopes to catch on with a cruise ship as an environmental officer. “Before Mass Maritime, I was a bit of a homebody,” she said. “I went to sea term, and since then I have loved the sea traveling and take every chance I get to do it. If I don’t get a job with a cruise ship, I still want to be on a ship somewhere.”
With the school year ending, Solari, the commander of her regiment’s 5th company, is helping to select the next commander and senior staff, and if there is any other time after that, writes a fashion blog.
While the college sports career is over for Ashley Solari, her achievements at both Sandwich High School and Mass Maritime Academy won’t soon be forgotten. She was instrumental in both strengthening the Sandwich tradition, and building one for the Buccaneers.