Athlete of the week: Abby Folk, Rogers, volleyball: Grace under fire
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
There’s dirty work to be done in volleyball and Abby Folk has been handling those tasks with grace and elegance for four years at Rogers.
You can’t win without girls in the back row who are adept at lunging and diving to scoop up the serves and spikes that come zinging across the net.
This fluid, flexible 5-foot-8 libero is one of the best. In fact, she is over 1,000 in both serve receives (1,128) and digs (1,005) at this writing, with most of her senior season to go.
“I enjoy it. I have the mentality for it,” said Folk about getting down and dirty. “Knowing, and expecting, that the serve, or the hit, will come to me, and knowing I’ll go get it.”
On top of that, Folk almost never misses at the serving stripe. Using the float serve, she put 98.7 percent in play the last two years, and is 25-for-25 with two aces so far this year.
“When I go back there, I don’t think about (missing). I don’t serve very aggressively. I can usually hit spots.”
Folk has been team MVP and all-conference the past two years, helping the Royals post 12-6-2 and 19-9 records. In her splendid junior season she notched 450 digs and 540 serve receives, while serving at 98.9 percent with 18 aces.
In the first two matches this year she had 36 serve receives and 44 digs.
“She made an impact right away when she came on the team (in ninth grade),” said coach Joy Knoblach. “She leads by example and saves us during crucial times. A steady and consistent player.”
Folk’s ability to read hitters is a big asset. “She watches the ball all the way into her arms, and moves her feet to the ball early,” notes the coach. “She makes passing look easy, she has great technique.”
About her serving, the coach says, “When she gets back to the line she is very focused.”
As a four-year starter, Folk is a leader by example on the floor although not a particularly vocal type.
“She is doing a better job this year at being more vocal,” said Knoblach, “and we need to sometimes remind her.”
One teammate Abby did get a little vocal with is her only sib, Erica, a sophomore outside hitter, who joined her in the starting lineup this year. “I did a little too much of that in the first game, I guess,” Abby laughed. “So I had to back off a little.”
Folk sticks to volleyball year round. She plays for Minnesota Select when not with the Royals.
Her career highlights include serving 10 consecutive points in a win over Monticello last year, posting a 19-9 record that’s the best Rogers has ever done, and a victory over arch rival STMA her freshman year (“which we haven’t done since.”)
The Royals have started 0-3 against a tough early schedule but she’s hopeful for another good season. “We have lots of potential. We just need more experience playing together.”
She intends to continue volleyball in college. University of Mary, U of Sioux Falls, and several D-III schools have shown interest.
THE FOLK SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents, Darin and Janelle; sister, Erica, 15 …. Sport: volleyball … Academics: 3.87 GPA … College plans: undecided; will play volleyball
Favorite stuff — Class: math …. TV shows: “Bachelor Pad,” “Bachelorette” …. Movies: “‘Magic Mike’ and anything else with Channing Tatum!” … Food: pepperoni pizza …. Drink: Mountain Dew …. Athlete: Misty May … Kickback activities: shopping, boating … Wants to visit: Mexico