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Abby with her mom, Mary

Crystal Lake, IL- This is a great way to kick off our #HittingTheRoad series. What a better subject to feature than Crystal Lake South HS and McHenry County College accomplished student and volleyball savant Abby Marchewka? The purpose of this series is to highlight our young local student athletes as they leave the protective nests of their families and make the big move to university life.

Abby leaves soon for the next chapter in the awesome novel aptly named “Abby: Beach Volleyball or Bust.” This is her story.

One of Abby’s high school teachers from Crystal Lake South, DeAnn Walkner, had nothing but good things to say about Miss M:

“I had the honor of teaching Abby during two different years.  She was my student her freshman year and senior year.  She has all the characteristics that a teacher would want in a student.  She was hard working, conscientious, positive, tenacious, and she possessed a great sense of humor.  I could always rely on Abby to have her homework done and to ask insightful questions that helped the other students.  She was always kind and helpful to her peers as well as to me.  Abby always entered the room with a smile on her face and left the room by telling me to have a good day.  Abby also was determined to do well and to understand the concepts that were discussed in class.  If she didn’t perform to her expectation, she would then work that much harder the next day.  I could always rely on Abby to laugh at my jokes, even on the rare occasions that I wasn’t that funny.  And she was always able to make me laugh.  I truly count myself blessed to have had such an amazing young woman as one of my students.”

Wow, that is very cool stuff! Thanks DeAnn, you set the table perfectly for us as we discover what makes Abby a very special young lady. had the great honor to meet Abby and her mom, Mary, at Galloway’s Chicago Subs in Crystal Lake recently to talk about Abby and all the things that make her tick. Please click below and listen to our interview. We kind of ramble on but you will see we had quite a blast:




Cool video of Abby showing us her beach volleyball moves:


Abby had quite a impact on Kyle McCall’s MCC women’s volleyball juggernaut last year (McHenry County College website). Coach McCall and his Lady Scots had a fantastic season that saw them win their way to Arizona for NJCAA National Championships. Kyle had these kind words for Abby, who only played her freshman campaign at MCC before heading to Grand Canyon University:

“Abby’s work ethic is unmatched and will certainly be missed. She is the type of person who does above and beyond what she is asked to do and holds herself to a high standard while not being held back by anything. Abby will do great things at Grand Canyon and we couldn’t be happier with her decision and how she continually communicated and was honest with us from the beginning so we could help her.  We will miss her personality and thumbs in our daily interactions. She has a way of just making people happy when they are around her. With continued work and desire,  she may be a contender for the 2024 games.”

Possible 2024 Olympics? Super cool. Great praise from a great coach. Thanks Coach McCall!


Great video of Abby playing beach volleyball down in Florida:


Abby made great impressions along her journey. Here we have another Gators teacher who really appreciated getting the opportunity to mentor Abby. Anita Theodore gives us her thoughts:

   “This fall will be my 18th year of teaching.  I’ve met thousands of students over the years, and kids come in all sorts of personalities; it is their personalities that make them memorable, and Abby Marchewka’s personality is definitely one that makes her stand apart from her peers.  She is kind, sincere, bright, quick to laugh, and has a tenacious work ethic.  I can say these things with certainty because she was my student during her freshman, junior, and senior years while she was at South.  I was lucky enough to watch her grow into the student and young lady she is today over those years.  By the time she was an upperclassman, Abby really dedicated herself to academics and became confident with this side of herself.  As a result, she became proactive and developed grit.  She sought help outside of class and worked on papers until they were just right.  Abby didn’t do these things just to earn extra points on assignments; she did this because it’s a part of her core.  The work ethic that drives her to be a great athlete is the same one that energizes her to be a critical thinker.  And that’s why she’s one of my favorite students: she isn’t satisfied with mediocrity.”

Very nice! Thanks Anita!!




Abby got the beach volleyball bug early on but it didn’t really take hold until she met sand volleyball guru Taye Im, owner and head instructor of Team One Volleyball Club (Taye Im’s Team One website). Abby tells us about her experience with Taye and Team One in our interview. Coach Im is very impressed with Abby and her passion for beach volleyball.

“It was a brave and courageous move” for Abby to go from indoor to beach volleyball Im states. “She is a very hard worker and a dedicated athlete, it was a long drive (Crystal Lake to Aurora) for Abby to make to Team One.”

Im liked her “goal oriented” attitude and the fact she never gave up on her dream of playing beach volleyball.

Coach Im likes the way beach volleyball is headed. His says that the “Olympics are big” and the future is bright for the sport and Abby. wishes Abby the best as she heads out west to Grand Canyon University (Grand Canyon University website). May God bless her and her family. The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades!



The Marchewka Siblings: (l-r) Luke, Abby, Zach and Jake

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