By Jadon Frank
Competitive and coachable are just two of the adjectives used to describe Briercrest’s new recruit.
Abbi Robinson, from Brandon, Man., will be joining Briercrest’s women’s volleyball team next year. She is described as a libero and defensive specialist that is competitive, coachable, has a strong work ethic and great attitude.
Briercrest head coach Nolan Weinmaster is glad to add the product of Crocus Plains Regional Secondary High School to his team.
“I am really looking forward to coaching Abbi!” Weinmaster said. “She has a lot of quickness on serve receive and defense and will bring us some really good depth at the libero and defensive specialist position. She has great ball control and even some experience as a setter, which makes her versatile all-around player.”
Trista Wenger, volleyball coach at Crocus Plains, praises Robinson.
“Abbi is one of the most competitive athletes that I have ever had the opportunity to coach,” Wenger said. “Her focus and drive to succeed is unmatchable. Abbi has done a great job of setting goals for herself, and she expends every effort to make sure that she is continually working towards achieving those goals. Abbi is amongst the most coachable athletes that I have had the opportunity to coach in the 11 years that I have been coaching. She is a very respectful, mature, and intelligent young lady.”
Lisa Nichol, Robinson’s coach at the Westman volleyball club, observed Robinson’s interaction with other people.
“Abbi is a very kind, caring person,” Nichol said. “She is absolutely hilarious and loves to make everyone around her feel comfortable and important. Her biggest strength is her ability to absorb instruction and lead on the court.”
Wenger agreed with Nichol’s assessment.
“I would say that Abbi's greatest strength is her work ethic,” Wenger added. “Her determination to continually better herself as both an athlete and a person is commendable. She would never turn down an opportunity to get in to the gym and get extra touches, or spend some extra time to strength train or work on footwork. “
Robinson was quickly identified as a leader when she arrived at Crocus Plains, and has been counted on to lead in several capacities. She was co-captain of the volleyball team and captain of the basketball team.
“Throughout her time here at Crocus, Abbi has been a leader both on and off the court. As a Grade 11, Abbi was the only non-graduating starter on our starting lineup. Even then, she was able to fill a leadership role, and did a great job controlling our serve receive and defensive aspects of the game, and her competitive edge provided us with a much needed "spark plug" to ignite the team on the court. Although libero's cannot physically wear the captain stripe, she most definitely filled a major leadership role in our program.
Nichol spoke to her first impressions of Robinson.
“Abbi was quiet when I first met her,” Nichol said. “She listened well and was one of those ‘look you in the eye’ kind of athletes. She opened up to me and her teammates quickly and became a leader almost immediately when games started.”
Robinson has been recognized for her athletic and academic performance at Crocus Plains, receiving two athletic honour roll awards, and being named to the graduating All-Star team. She has gained experience playing on several different club teams including Storm, Amrak and most recently Westman this past season.
“A huge highlight for my volleyball career would be making it to provincials last year,” Robinson said. “We went up against a tough team who we spent the season battling. Even though we ended up losing in the fifth set by two, it was an experience I will never forget.”
Robinson’s former coaches expect her to excel at Briercrest.
“Abbi has a great support system at home that will be there to support her throughout her transition to Briercrest,” Wenger said. “She is very excited to move on and play at the next level, and it will be a great experience for her to become even more independent than she already is. Abbi has known for quite some time that she wanted to focus on becoming a Phys. Ed. teacher. Fortunately, Briercrest provides her with an opportunity to be able to focus on both her career path, and allows her to continue to play the game that she loves at a high level.”
Coach Weinmaster has observed the same characteristics that her past coaches mentioned.
“She is going to be a great fit for our program with her great attitude and character,” Weinmaster said. “Abbi comes from a strong high school program where she has been coached well by Trista Wenger and I look forward to continuing to help develop her into a great player at the post-secondary level.”
The libero brings more than volleyball to Briercrest, as she also plays basketball and soccer. She has also been recognized for her academic achievements, receiving two academic honour roll awards and a nomination for the Spencer Lee Memorial Scholarship.
Life is busy for Robinson, but she finds time for friends and family.
“Right now all my time outside of school is either going toward volleyball and soccer, or working my two jobs,” Robinson said. “But, when I do get time off I love surrounding myself with people, either my friends or family! One of my favourite trips would have to be the two trips I've made to Greece! Not only is the weather, and the sightseeing beautiful, but I loved the atmosphere! Seeing my grandparents was also a huge highlight.”
2013-14 Briercrest College Women’s Volleyball Recruiting Class
LS Samantha Zacharias • 5-8 • 1st • Waldheim, SK/Waldheim School
L Abbi Robinson • 5-7 • 1st • Brandon, MB/Crocus Plains Regional Secondary High School