BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Abbey Malinowski runs into position and jumps into the air as she sends the volleyball over the net for a powerful hit unreturned by the competition.
All of the Clarkston High School senior’s hard work with the varsity volleyball team hasn’t gone unnoticed. Malinowski is one of ten finalists for Miss Volleyball, selected by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association.
“It was really exciting because I am against so many great volleyball players I compete with and play with all year round because I play also with club,” she said. “I know them and know how good they are. It’s exciting to be part of that group.”
Playing against those players and against good competition since she started in fifth grade helped her get to the high level of play she’s at today.
“I feel like I have learned from the best, even starting here as a freshman I had players to look up to as well as at my club,” Malinowski said. “Also, being here as a freshman I could learn how to be a good leader as I started at the bottom of the food chain, coming up and learning what I can from players in the past and try to be the best leader I can be.”
Malinowski plans to continue her volleyball career at University of Michigan and explained her experience will help as she goes on to the next level.
“It is very competitive,” she said. “No matter what I want to bring something to my team at Michigan whether it’s being on the court fighting for one of those six spots. Or if it’s being on the sidelines, I want to be a good leader, cheering for my teammates and bringing all I can even if I am not starting right away.”
She chose Michigan because she wanted someplace close to home.
“My family loves volleyball so much,” she smiled. “They love watching me play and they are super supportive. It was a big part of being near home. Plus, Big Ten volleyball is so good and so competitive. I wanted to be able to be able to compete in that league.”
Her advice to aspiring athletes is to keep in mind attitude.
“Volleyball is a big mental game,” she said. “If you can stay positive and keep your competitive attitude in mind you should be able to accomplish anything.”
Malinowski and her teammates start the post season this Wednesday in the district semifinals against Lake Orion at home, 5:30 p.m.