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Volleyball: Abbi Mulder taking game to Dordt

WORTHINGTON -- Coaches who've seen Abbi Mulder perform on a volleyball floor are in agreement that, as good as she is now, much potential remains. "Abbi's just been a joy to coach. A hard worker, and she's just really gotten better year after yea...

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Doug Wolter/Daily Globe Worthington High School senior Abbi Mulder signs Friday to play volleyball at Dordt College next season. Mulder recorded a school single-season record 101 blocks at WHS last fall.

WORTHINGTON -- Coaches who’ve seen Abbi Mulder perform on a volleyball floor are in agreement that, as good as she is now, much potential remains.

“Abbi’s just been a joy to coach. A hard worker, and she’s just really gotten better year after year. I think the sky’s the limit for her. I think she’s got a lot of potential to get even better,” said her high school mentor, Jessica Hogan, on Friday afternoon.

Her new college coach, Chad Nelson, said that Mulder’s volleyball education will coalesce at Dordt College, where the game is faster and more intense.

“Her ability to adapt to the speed of it is something we think she will be able to do well,” he said.

On Friday at the Worthington High School media center, Abbi was joined by Hogan, Nelson, her parents Mike and Natalie, and her older brother Will -- who’s on the men’s golf team at Dordt -- to sign a letter linking her to the Defenders.

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At Worthington High School, Mulder performed admirably as a senior at a middle hitter position, recording 209 kills and a school single-season record 101 blocks. She served at an 83 percent clip with 29 aces.

Her 202 blocks in a career is also a Trojan record.

“I love the feeling you get when you get a big block. To me, that’s the best feeling in the world,” she said.

By choosing Dordt College over several other schools including Bethany Lutheran, Briar Cliff and Mount Marty, Mulder opted to play for an outstanding volleyball program that currently sports a 28-8 record. Last year under Hanson, the Defenders were the national champion runners-up.

“The second I stepped onto the campus for a visit, it felt like home,” a smiling Mulder said Friday. “I just saw myself going there.”

Mulder has already participated at three volleyball camps at the college. Hanson says Mulder’s positive personality off the court, her “great” outlook on life, attracted Dordt coaches to her right along with her volleyball ability. She’ll be taught middle hitter and left-side hitter positions at the college to later determine where she’ll make the biggest impact.

On Friday, Hanson made it a point to praise Mulder for her character. It’s character, said the sixth-year coach of the Defenders, that has helped to make the program a success.

“I believe that our team chemistry really has made the difference for us this season,” he said. “The years we’ve had the best team success, I can point to real good team chemistry.”

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Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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