Lone senior Sabotin hoping to lead Trinity to state


Three footsteps, a jump and a loud smack.

Those are the steps involved in a Hannah Sabotin attack attempt.

One. Two. Three.


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More often than not, those steps result in a kill and a point for the Class A No. 1 Trinity Lutheran Cougars volleyball team.

"I know I’m glad I’m on her side," Trinity Lutheran coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. "I wouldn’t want to be on the other side. When I’ve thrown balls in for warmup, she’s dinged a few of us in the head, so I stand as close to the net as I can."

Sabotin ranks 12th in the state in hitting percentage at 42.8 percent, according to MaxPreps, and averages 4.3 kills per set, which is fourth-best in her class.

She has always been the go-to attacking option for the Cougars these last two seasons. She had nearly 200 more kills than the next closest teammate a year ago.

This season, she has had a lot more help in the attacking department thanks to juniors Sydney Jaynes and Kennedy Hoffman, who have 222 and 221 kills to Sabotin’s 290.

Taking off some of the pressure to score points is a boost for the Cougars’ lone senior, who has had to become the team’s captain on and off the court. 

"I’ve definitely become more vocal this year on the court, off the court, on the bench, just trying to pick everyone up and making sure everyone is having fun and is engaged," Sabotin said.

Seeing Sabotin give orders or cheer on the court is a lot different from how she acts off of it. Outside of volleyball, there’s a strong chance you’d never notice Sabotin.

"I’m naturally an introvert," Sabotin said. "On the court, I’m just ready to play. I’m an extrovert."

Her off-the-court manner played a big role in keeping the Cougars playing well in her absence. 

Back in early September, the Cougars were without their senior captain for a significant chunk of games due to an abdominal injury. Though she wasn’t out there on the court, her presence made sure Trinity was playing at its peak. 

Though she has been back for several games now, the stress of not being out there on the court took its toll on Sabotin. She was reserved to just cheering them on but wanted desperately to get back out onto the court so she didn’t have to pretend she was playing in the game. 

Yet, not playing in games isn’t even close to the hardest thing Sabotin has had to put up with in her volleyball career. 

Up until her eighth-grade year, Sabotin was homeschooled and played on homeschool volleyball teams. When she made the transition to play at Trinity, it took a lot of getting used to. 

"Freshman year, it was just different environments," she said. "Going from homeschool volleyball to high school volleyball was a big transition."

Once over the initial shock, it has been a great four years for Sabotin, who crossed the 1,000-kill milestone in September at the Cougar Cup.

It’s just one of many statistical accolades for her, but there are many more that don’t appear in the stat sheet. 

"She’s such a good leader, a ball-control leader in the back row as well as the front court and just a sweet kid and a great student," Wilder-Newland said. “She jumps very well, sees the block, sees the court and has a really quick arm.

"There aren’t enough words to say about her," she continued. "She’s a hard worker, dedicated in the offseason and just tries to improve every time she’s on the court."

Those offseason improvements will hopefully lead the Cougars to Muncie for a shot at the Class A state championship in early November. 

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