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updated: 8/25/2012 7:26 PM

Hersey's Fesl a big success story

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  • Abby Fesl's setting talents could help Hersey to another banner season.

      Abby Fesl's setting talents could help Hersey to another banner season.
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  • Abby Fesl

      Abby Fesl

 
 

Abby Fesl enjoys writing.

That's why she will study journalism at the University of North Florida, where she has earned a scholarship for her volleyball skills.

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The Hersey senior setter, who has been a feature writer for her school paper, sure could pen quite a story about her own family's success.

One might be hard-pressed to think of one family in the Northwest suburbs which has produced three Division I athletes.

Abby is the third Fesl to reach the top level of collegiate athletics, following in the footsteps of sisters Megan (Notre Dame) and Annie (Cincinnati).

And it doesn't stop there.

Their mother Joanie played for Iowa. And even the girls' father Rich got involved in the volleyball arena as he sang the national anthem in South Bend, Ind., prior to a Notre Dame-Cincinnati volleyball match in 2007 that included Megan and Annie.

"I can't believe it," said 26-year veteran Hersey coach Nancy Lill of the Fesl family. "I have been blessed by what Joanie and Rich have given me these years. To have three D-I daughters in one family is amazing."

And the Fesl girls have all achieved some amazing success, winning conference titles and postseason accolades.

Since serving as the Huskies setter as a sophomore, Abby has not lost an Mid-Suburban East contest and has played in two MSL title matches.

Last season, she collected 759 assists in the regular season with an amazing .427 efficiency. She also led the team in aces with 39 and played solid defense with 230 digs.

"It's been crazy, the time flew for sure," Fesl said about heading into her senior year. "It's been great playing for coach Lill. She's a great coach and it's great to come into a successful program and try to keep up the tradition."

And Abby is keeping up the tradition of her family.

"My sisters and my mom have had the biggest impact on my volleyball career," said Abby, who was named tournament MVP when her Sky High club team won an AAU national championship in June. "I saw how far they got and how much work they put into it. I wanted to be just as successful because I saw how great they were."

Annie recently completed her career at Cincinnati and finished third on the career assists list with 4,249. She is now the Gordon Tech varsity girls volleyball coach.

"It was always fun to watch Annie setting," Abby said. "She was always so enthusiastic. I knew I wanted to be a setter.

"When I was little, whatever sport I was playing, I wanted to be involved in every play. I was the point guard in basketball and catcher in softball.

"My parents always told me to choose whatever sport I liked best. I just liked volleyball the best."

Just like her sisters.

"Megan and Annie were huge inspirations to me," Abby said. "They are my biggest supporters. I got to watch them in college."

While Megan and Annie played in the Midwest, they get to watch their little sister in Jacksonville, Fla.

"I picked a good spot for them," Abby said with a smile. "My mom was a little hesitant with me being that far away but my sisters were really excited."

In addition to excelling on the court, Fesl also thrives in the classroom as a National Honor Society student with a 4.8 grade-point average. Her favorite subject is English and she puts some pretty fancy English on her sets.

"With the young hitters we have this season, their jobs will be made easier by Abby," Lill said. "All they have to do is go out and swing because Abby will put the ball on a silver platter."

Fesl, who had a Journalism I class she enjoyed as a freshman, began working as a correspondent for the school newspaper.

"I really liked it and decided I wanted to keep doing that," she said.

She will continue in that field at North Florida.

"It's beautiful there," Abby said. "It's surrounded by natural preservation and it's only five miles from the beach. I couldn't have picked a better spot."

"The school is a great fit for her," Lill said. "She loved the coaches. And they're going to be lucky getting a great setter and wonderful person. I know Abby will do great there."

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