Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
WEST BRANCH – The top hitters at a high school volleyball match can be heard as easily as they can be seen.
Just listen for the sharp sound of the ball hitting the floor, the oohs and aahs coming from the crowd or the chants from the students that follow the hardest kills.
Abbey Frauf wanted to be the type of hitter you hear.
“The temptation is to try to smash it every single team,” Fryauf said laughing. “Always being one of the tallest players it was definitely hard sometimes not to just hit it as hard as I could every time.”
Fryauf has always possessed the potential to be the type of player that hammers those impressive sounding kills.
It has been what else Fryauf has added to her game that has turned the West Branch senior into one of the most dangerous hitters in a Division I recruit and one of the most effective hitters in Class 2A.
“I think she has improved her shot selection a lot the past few years,” West Branch coach John Walsh said. “She is not just a single dimensional player. She can make a lot of different shots and score a lot of different ways.”
Hammering away at the net was always a strength for Fryauf who logged135 kills as a sophomore in 2016 in her first season of varsity action. I
It was during her sophomore season that Fryauf learned it takes more than a big swing to be an effective hitter at the varsity level.
“I definitely saw then it’s essential for a hitter to be disciplined and to be smart,” Fryauf said. “You can be the most powerful hitter but if you hit it right at the libero it’s not going to do anything.”
Fryauf has spent the past two seasons working on developing the other aspects of her game, starting with her offensive attack.
The results speak for themselves.
Fryauf had a team-high 289 kills last season as a junior while averaging 3.4 kills per set.
The 6-foot-2 Fryauf has improved on those numbers in 10 matches this season.
She has 74 kills (3.22 per set) while hitting at a career-best clip of .251 and has collected 41 digs.
“She hit for us a couple of years ago and the last two years she has developed into a great all-around player,” Walsh said. “She is a go-to hitter when we need to get a kill and she has great court sense and is a senior leader for us. She is an asset to have on the court for sure.”
Following a disappointing 10-23 last fall Fryauf entered her senior season with a new role and a different attitude.
A senior leader and team captain Fryauf has worked to become more of a leader which the South Dakota State recruit says has in turn, made her more confident.
“I definitely am more confident and part of that is I know I have the support from my teammates, Fryauf said. “I feel like as the leader and the captain I have to be there for my teammates and that has given me some confidence knowing they are there for me to.”
The strong start from Fryauf has helped West Branch get off to a 6-4 start to the season with losses to 2A top-ranked Grundy Center, No. 14 Hudson, 3A No. 7 West Liberty and unbeaten Wilton.
West Branch took sets from Grundy Center and West Liberty in losses and Fryauf believes the best from the Bears is yet to come.
“We have the talent, we are playing well, we beat the number one team in 2A in a set and as soon as we start taking care of some of our errors I think we can be a team that can go far,” Fryauf said. “Don’t count us out.”
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