Mineral Ridge volleyball coach Jennifer Staunton said that Abby Riffee has one thing to do to be successful as a college player.
"Play like she did in high school - that's it," Staunton said.
To Staunton, the word "play" encapsulates everything in the high school volleyball experience: the training, the practice, and the performance - all of which Riffee has done as well as any player who has ever put on the orange and black of the Rams.
Tribune Chronicle file photo
Mineral Ridge graduate Abby Riffee, seen her sophomore year, will be playing for Mount Union University this fall.
"She's an incredibly hard worker - and she's a perfectionist," Staunton said. "She will do whatever it takes to be successful, so that's why I can say that. She's a gifted player, and she'll always do what she has to do to make sure that talent surfaces."
Riffee, a 5-foot-1 libero, chose to continue her playing career at Mount Union, and she's already stepped up her work by taking on the program's training regimen so she's ready to walk on the court and play.
"It's very hard, but I love it," Riffee said. "The training is what separates you from your competitors, and you have to train like you want to play."
In high school, Riffee played very well - just look at her accolades from 2011, when she helped lead the Rams to the Division IV regional final. She was an All-Ohio third team, All-Inter-Tri County League first team selection, and was named American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Week for Ohio on Nov. 7. She also won that national award in 2010.
In 2011, she earned the prestigious award by recording 26 digs, one kill, and four aces in a week. In a week span in 2010, she recorded 71 digs and five aces to earn the award.
All of that won't mean too much, though, at Mount Union, a place Riffee said stood out to her as soon as she stepped on the campus.
"I knew Mount Union was the place for me right away," she said. "I'm kind of a jock, so it's great to see a school with so many athletes, and takes athletics very seriously. I just felt like I fit in very well there."
Her time at Mount Union will be a stop on a journey that started early in grade school.
"I've been playing volleyball since I can remember, and I just love the sport," she said. "I've always been attracted to it, so it's not like work when I train for it, because I have so much love for it."