Bucs' Cole ranked as No. 3 best prep volleyball player in nation

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM

That news is quickly spreading across the country.

Earlier this week, Cole, a standout at both basketball and volleyball for the Buccaneers, was named the No. 3 senior volleyball player in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. The popular volleyball website ranked the nation’s top 250 seniors, including the top 100 Senior Aces.

“It was a surprise, and a huge honor,” Cole said.

When asked if she agreed with her ranking, the 6-foot-5 senior shrugged.

“I don’t know. I hope to prove myself this year,” she said.

After being introduced to the website by her club volleyball coach, Cole had a feeling she’d be included somewhere in the top 250. The list was revealed a few spots at a time, and every time her name wasn’t on the list, Cole grew more excited.

“I never checked it,” Cole said. “I would have my mom, and every day, she was like, ‘You’re not on the list yet,’ and I was so happy.

“Then on, the last day, I said, ‘Don’t tell me,’ so after practice, I got on my phone and checked.”

Cole was surprised and excited to see her name third on the list, behind Lauren Carlini of West Aurora, Ill., and Elise Ruddins of Aliso Niguel, Calif.

Cole was listed one spot ahead of another Michigander — Chloe Reinig of South Lyon. While Cole has committed to play for Michigan next fall, Reinig is headed to Michigan State.

“I’ve played against her a few times in club season,” Cole said.

Here’s what PrepVolleyball.com writer John Tawa had to say about Cole:

“College coaches that worked camps this summer threw terms like “Beast” and “Monster” around when talking about Cole’s presence on the court. And there’s every reason to believe that she is just scratching the surface of her potential given that she is an All-State basketball player and only has been a part-time volleyball player. A dominating presence at the net and capable of hitting from any position, Cole completely changes the game from both an offensive and defensive standpoint in the front row. Very quick and coordinated, she must always be accounted for by the defense and is lethal in transition. She is very long and her court movements are both athletic and efficient. Young for her class, Cole is an outstanding student, a tremendous teammate and a very humble and genuine person. As an elite athlete who will progress at a very fast rate, Cole could be the kind of player that can elevate the Michigan Wolverine program to compete at the highest level of collegiate volleyball.”

Cole is also a force on the basketball court. As a junior, she helped Grand Haven win the Class A state championship, and in the process, was named to several all-state teams. The Detroit News named Cole a first-team all-state pick after the youngster recorded a triple double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 13 blocked shots in a quarterfinal win over East Lansing. She added 10 blocks in the semifinals against Inkster, then helped the Bucs complete a historic comeback with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks in the title game win over Grosse Pointe South.

Cole’s senior volleyball season hasn’t gone quite as she’s hoped thus far.

A few weeks back, she was undercut going up for a kill and came down hard, hitting her head on the floor. Cole suffered a concussion, and missed two weeks of action before coming back late last week.

“I don’t remember much about that day,” Cole said of the day she was hurt. “I was out two weeks, and this was only my second match back. It was really hard not playing. You don’t know how much you love something until you can’t do it. But I think it helped the team so much, because they really learned to rely on each other.”

Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka said Cole’s national recognition is well-deserved.

“It’s great, because Abby is such a great kid,” he said. “It’s great to have Grand Haven recognized, our team, our school, our community.

“I’ve always said her ceiling is so high, and she just wants to get better.”

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