Abby Schaefer Might not say enough about how The very biggest-notch rivals she confronted rising up assisted her be ready for NCAA Division I volleyball.
The 18-yr previous 2022 St. Henry graduate has carried out her half To assist the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to a 12-2 Start to the season. WKU is ranked Twenty 4th Inside The latest American Volleyball Coaches Affiliation Division I ballot. Schaefer leads the Hilltoppers with 144 digs.
Schaefer grouped up with the 2021 Kentucky Gatorade Participant of the Year, outdoors hitter Taylor Preston and setter Cora Taylor To steer the St. Henry Crusaders to the second state championship In school historic previous final yr.
She credited veteran St. Henry Head Coach Maureen Kaiser for serving to the Crusaders put together for these recreation and her transition To school.
“The state event was strong. However it was good as a Outcome of Inside the common season, we On A daily basis performed Definitely one of the biggest groups,” Schaefer said. “We went to Louisville and performed the all-women groups. That ready us for matches like that. It was so nice to play in. We had expertise with these groups earlier than.”
Schaefer said she’d Greater than love So as to add to the success WKU has loved beneath 28-yr veteran head coach Travis Hudson. The Hilltoppers simply eclipsed the 700th win in Hudson’s tenure.
“Being a state champion, I by no means thought that We’d get tright here,” Schaefer said. “However it was a nice season. Our exhausting work paid off tright here And Sort of pushed us. Going inTo school, we realized we belong tright here. It was meant to be.”
Hudson has earned Photo voltaic Belt Convention Coach of the Year 5 events and Convention USA Coach of the Year 4 events. The Hilltoppers have 25 worthwhile seasons in his profession collectively with 20 or extra wins 23 events, and 30 or extra wins in 9 campaigns. The Hilltoppers accomplished 28-2 final yr with A third straight NCAA Tournament second spherical look.
Kaiser, the St. Henry coach, said Schaefer does An excellent job accepting criticism And dealing on factors. Her son Blake graduated from WKU.
“When Abby dedicated to Western, I couldn’t be extra thrilled,” Kaiser said. “I really feel we each run comparable packages Inside the sense he builds a househprevious Throughout the group and he welcomed her with open arms, Might be very affected person. She Is flourishing in that environment for constructive. She’s An beautiful athlete To tevery.”
“From the day that I walked Inside the door, these women have been like sisters to me,” Schaefer said of Western. “We’ve On A daily basis been like so shut. After apply, we’ll all Exit and eat dinner collectively. On the weekends, we’ll Maintain aspherical. Tright here’s not a One which you merely don’t Want to be aspherical On this program. Even with the coaches on bus rides, we’ll all sit aspherical and snicker collectively.”
The Hilltoppers have 4 coaches on staff and assistant coach Craig Bere said every of them works with All of the recreationrs collectively with Schaefer.
“She truly brings Tons. Definitely one of many huge factors with Abby is she’s Solely A troublesome baby,” Bere said. “She brings A very strong psychological An factor of The sport. She has actually good hearth and celebration to her so she brings one factor to the courtroom Every day that A pair of of the others don’t and that’s very welcomed for constructive – Solely A particular particular personality, aggressiveness and The complete factor. That’s very refreshing, particularly to get it from a freshman.”
WKU has performed a quantity of Power Five conference groups. The Hilltoppers beat Tennessee from the Southeastern Convention final week, then Indiana of The huge Ten Inside the WKU Volleyball Invitational over the weekend. Their two losses have come to second-ranked Louisville and Texas A&M.
“It was loopy. I grew up watching basketball and noticed that area,” Schaefer said of The three-0 win at Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. “Being tright here and having fun with in that Clinic was actually cool.”
Schaefer said digging up balls Isn’t Solely A particular person factor. It begin with blocking and protection.
“It goes again to protection and such with blockers. It actually takes all of us,” Schaefer said. “Having good blockers all by way of Highschool and having All of the aggressive recreationrs with me makes my job Tons simpler.”
Schaefer is a nursing primary. She’s managed To Search out time for her educational, athletic and social lives Benefiting from the research tables.
“Time administration Is An monupsychological factor so research tables have been actually useful, particularly As quickly as We’re on the road,” Schaefer said. “You miss class right here and tright here, which Is primarily exhausting. However Everytime you Get back, You only go To consider hall and have to get your stuff carried out then make time outdoors of volleyball to do stuff. However school finally comes first, particularly with Nursing. That’s one of The strongest levels to get right here. I’ve found To place that earlier than somefactor.”
In two seasons, one of Schaefer’s groupmates at St. Henry will be a part of her. Junior hitter Aliva Sbabyextra simply verbally dedicated to the Hilltoppers.
“I’m actually excited. I actually like the coaches and all The women As quickly as I went on my go to,” Sbabyextra said. “It’s An excellent campus and thrilling to play on a Prime 25 program as properly.”
The Hilltoppers hit the road to open Convention USA movement starting Friday at Alabama-Birmingham then Saturday at Middle Tennessee State. The video recreations begin at 8 p.m. then 3 p.m. Japanese Regular Time.