By Mark Ambrogi
Junior setter Abby Graves has developed into a solid leader for the Franklin Central High School volleyball team.
“One of Abby’s biggest strengths is her bond with her teammates,” Franklin Central coach Emily Sellers said. “She’s worked hard to cultivate relationships with everyone on the team and that’s helped her connect with her attackers. She also loves to ask questions that will help her better understand the game. She’s a true student of the game, paired with her natural ball handling skill and that makes for a good court leader.”
Graves said she likes to set the tone.
“I think my biggest strength on the court is I’m very loud and I love to be in control,” she said. “Being a setter I’m always running the offense, so it’s easier to be communicating with my teammates if I’m loud and take control of every ball I can get my hands on.
A two-year starter, Graves said she improved her footwork and speed.
“I have been working with both my strength and conditioning coaches throughout the season each day to become better at these movements that will help me on the volleyball court,” she said.
Sellers said Graves has improved her confidence and ability to spread the offense.
“Last year she wasn’t quite as confident in making the hard set when she got pulled further into the court,” Sellers said. “This year we’ve worked with her and our offense in trusting each other and letting Abby spread the ball even off a bad pass. This has allowed us to open up attackers and become an overall more dynamic team.”
Graves set the school record Aug. 18 for aces in a match with 12 against Warren Central.
“I think it was pretty amazing to set the school record in aces,” she said. “I knew coming into the game I had a possible chance, but I didn’t know until they actually went back and counted after the game that I ended up breaking it.”
Graves surpassed the 1,000 career assists mark Sept. 6 against Ben Davis. She delivered her 100th career ace Sept. 22 against Noblesville.
As of Sept. 24, Graves led the Hoosier Crossroads Conference with 55 aces and was fifth in assists with 460.
Graves started playing volleyball in third grade and then started playing travel volleyball in fifth grade.
“Ever since I set foot on the court, I have been a setter,” she said. “I didn’t really have the choice because my mom was the coach and that’s where she wanted me, so I’ve always just stuck with it.”
Growing up, she played basketball mostly because her father Matthew Graves was a basketball coach. A former Butler University player, her father is now the associate head coach at Indiana State University.
“I gave up playing softball and basketball both in the fifth grade because I realized it was a lot trying to play a different sport every season,” Graves said. “Then finally I gave up soccer my sixth-grade year because that’s when travel volleyball became more important and started taking up all my time.”
THE GRAVES FILE
NAME: Abby Graves
SCHOOL: Franklin Central
COLLEGE PLANS: Dental hygienist
HOBBIES: Playing volleyball, going shopping and baking.
FAVORITE SUBJECT: Math
FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SHOW: “The Summer I Turned Pretty”
FAVORITE ATHLETE: University of Nebraska setter Nicklin Hames
FAVORITE MUSICIAN OR BAND: Drake
IDEAL VACATION SPOT: Florida
PARENTS’ NAMES: Matthew and Susan Graves