Saalfrank makes the most of recent college transition

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Saalfrank makes the most of recent college transition

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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Since her arrival at Eastern two years ago, volleyball player Abby Saalfrank has exceeded expectations on the court and in the classroom.

In this young season, the junior right-side attacker has five straight kill-dig double doubles in six games. She was also named Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week last Monday, which she feels is a great example of her team’s hard work.

“Those honors wouldn’t come at all if it wasn’t for the team. No one can do anything by themselves in volleyball,” Saalfrank said. “You need everyone else, without setter Marah Bradbury and our defense, the other hitters it wouldn’t be possible for me to accomplish any of that.”

Saalfrank, who first came to Eastern to major in special education, began her college volleyball career as a setter. But just last year, Eastern head coach Kate Price believed that Saalfrank, a Hoagland, Ind., native would be better suited for the team’s outside hitter position. Saalfrank had no problem with that decision.

At Heritage High School in Monroeville, Ind., Saalfrank was a three-time all-conference selection, as well as the team MVP and offensive player of the year from the hitter position.

“I’ve always hit. I actually started hitting since my sophomore year of high school,” Saalfrank said. “The transition made me focus more on hitting. I feel like Kate wanted me to be more active as a hitter, as opposed to splitting my responsibilities.”

Her academic excellence also speaks highly of how focused Saalfrank is about making college a memorable experience.

“I think grades are very, very important as well,” Saalfrank said. “While volleyball is still a priority, my academics now will carry me to the end of my future and that’s my life.”

Her head coach is also impressed with how well she handles duties on and off the court.

“She’s a good kid, and gets after it. Pretty much all aspects of the game and school,” Price said. “She came here to get her education, and also to play volleyball, and she does a great job of balancing the two.”

The small-town college atmosphere appealed most to Saalfrank, who also comes from a small town in northern Indiana.

“I visited other schools, but I liked Eastern’s small campus, class sizes and I just didn’t want that big culture shock of a big university or even a bigger school,” Saalfrank said. I liked how small (Eastern) was and how small Charleston is.”

The only culture shock Saalfrank experienced at Eastern is how the ice cream compares to back home.

“The ice cream back home was a tradition we had, when we would go out after football games on Friday nights to a place called Whinny Dip,” she said.

The blue slushie with the soft serve she became obsessed with cannot be found anywhere in Coles County.

Blake Nash (@banash5) can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]