Athlete of the Week – Growing strong on the court

AOW Abbey - 7916
Abbey Malinowski high fives her teammates before their game against Lake Orion, Sept. 27. Photo by Larry Wright

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Lady Wolves are prepared to block opponents from points this week in the MHSAA Volleyball Districts as the competition has to watch out for the powerful swings from junior Abbey Malinowski.
“We are improving every day in practice which is really good to see especially right now – it’s a good time to peak,” Malinowski said.
The Lady Wolves plan to take it one game at a time, but the main goal is to go to Battle Creek for the finals.
“We are going to stay focused on Wednesday and then we will go from there,” she said.
Malinowski began playing volleyball when she was in fifth grade and admitted she started because her older sister, Emily, played.
“It wasn’t like a sport I had played before,” she said, explaining she enjoys the competitiveness and being closeness with her teammates.
She joined the varsity team as a freshman and noted she has grown from being a setter to being an outside setter, which she started playing the position with Legacy, her club team.
She noted the game intensity and playing tournaments with Legacy has helped her play in high school.
“In my tenure as a coach I am confident in saying she is the best player we have had in 14 years I have coached,” said Kelly Pinner, head coach for Clarkston Varsity Volleyball. “What I really enjoy about coaching her this year is she has grown a little bit and now a junior she has figured out how to be a great teammate, too. The last two years she has been reserved and shy because she was younger than everybody.”
Abbey plans on continuing on playing volleyball in college and will play at the University of Michigan after she graduates in 2018.
She currently has a grade point average of 3.6 and is in general education classes as well as Psychology, Forensics Science and Law and Society.
Her advice for aspiring athletes is to keep a positive attitude especially in volleyball.
“It’s more than a sport – it’s a mental game,” she said. “If you are strong with the mental game it will go the same way on the court.”
When Abbey isn’t studying or playing volleyball she is hanging out with friends and family. She also enjoys traveling and one of her favorite places to visit is Up North.