By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Volleyball never ends for Abby Brown.
The high school season ended in mid-November, but the Greenbrier East junior standout is playing travel ball as well as working out in the gym three of four days a week.
“I need to work on getting my vertical up and getting stronger,” she said. “And I have to keep doing the basics, the fundamentals of volleyball. I know that will get me better.”
Most volleyball observers think Brown is awfully good right now. A two-time first-team all-stater, she was the runner-up for the state player of the year award as selected by the W.Va. Sports Writers Association.
And now she can add The Register-Herald’s Volleyball Player of the Year award to her laurels.
“It’s a well-deserved honor,” Lady Spartans coach Matt Sauvage said. “She’s one of the best players in the state, but she doesn’t settle for being as good as she is. She’s already putting in work for next year, trying to make herself better.”
Just 5-foot-9, Brown took on taller foes at the net and, more often than not, defeated them.
She had 724 kills and 42 blocks as she led Greenbrier East to a 47-12 record and a berth in the Class AAA state championship game.
“Abby is not intimidated by any player,” Sauvage said. “She’s never backed down from a fight, so to speak, from her freshman year on. She enjoys it.”
Not just a great hitter-blocker, Brown made 484 assists as one of two setters in the Lady Spartans’ 6-2 offense. She also had 499 digs and 145 serving aces.
Sauvage is just as impressed that she committed just 45 receiving errors in nearly 700 chances.
“Abby is known for her hitting, and rightly so. And she became one of the best setters in the state,” he said. “But the best part of her game is her passing. People don’t see it because of her hitting and setting, but she’s probably the best passer in the state.”
Obviously, Brown can do it all. She not only has the physical tools, but she knows the game inside-out.
“I’ve been playing volleyball since I was very little. I caught on to it, learned to love it, and I’m going to keep on doing it,” she said. “I used to play basketball, but I decided to focus on volleyball because I know my future is pretty good.”
Numerous schools have contacted her, including Marshall University, and in the spring she plans to make some visits.
“Marshall has offered (a scholarship), but I’m talking to as many colleges as I can,” Brown said. “If I’m lucky enough, I’ll find what college I want to go to by the end of my junior year.”
Other nominees for The Register-Herald’s Player of the Year award included Brown’s Greenbrier East teammate Katie Shaver (431 kills, 35 blocks, 916 assists, 316 digs, 40 aces), the other hitter-setter in the 6-2 offense; Westside’s Mikayla Abbott (239 kills, 56 blocks, 269 digs, 44 aces); Independence setter Brooke Foley (7.4 assist per game, 94 aces, 265 digs, 97 kills) and Greater Beckley Christian setter Heather Lambert (800+ assists, 200 digs, 80+ aces.
— E-mail: dstillwell