Senior setter Abby Markworth was understandably excited early last season when she recorded already her 1,000th career assist for the Lyons Township High School girls volleyball team.
Little did she know that 2,000 was possible – or how quickly she’d reach it.
“I wasn’t really aware of how much I usually get in a year, but it was definitely cool to see how I got it,” Markworth said.
The fourth-year starter achieved her most recent milestone Sept. 12 during the Lions’ 25-19, 25-20 victory over rival Hinsdale Central at their north campus Vaughan Gym.
Entering the match three away, Markworth got No. 2,000 by feeding senior middle Grace Turner, this season’s kills leader.
“It was a tip (kill) right to Zone 4. We call it the Turner tip,” said Markworth, who will play at George Washington.
“It’s definitely a super cool accomplishment. Obviously, it all goes to my team. Everything I’ve done I would not be able to without all of the strong hitters and passers that I’ve had.”
Markworth probably spent as much effort thanking and texting current and former teammates as they did congratulating her.
She’s been an integral part in the Lions’ team-oriented formula for consistent success.
On Saturday, the Lions (15-3) finished sixth at the highly competitive 24-team Wheaton Classic. Markworth was named to the all-tournament team for the second year in a row.
“(It’s great), especially for a girl that’s an incredible leader and incredible athlete. To be able to recognize that after four years of playing varsity with us is pretty amazing,” LTHS coach Jill Bober said.
“It just shows the competitiveness of our team as well and the quality of our opponents we play. It does speak to the quality of teams that we’ve had at LT the past few years. It gives me chills thinking about it.”
LTHS lost Saturday’s rematch with Hinsdale Central 25-23, 25-19 for fifth. The Lions lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Benet 25-21, 25-11 and then outlasted Sandburg 25-17, 25-27, 25-15.
In pool play Sept. 13, the Lions defeated Harlem 25-9, 25-16 and Lemont 25-15, 21-25, 25-17.
“I definitely think we’re still working through some roller coaster moments looking for some more consistency throughout our matches,” Bober said.
Markworth grew up in a multi-sport family but volleyball has remained her primary sport.
Her mother, Kelly (volleyball) and father, Jason (basketball) were Division I athletes at Valparaiso. Sister Hailey (Winona State women’s basketball) and brother Evan (Loyola men’s volleyball) are college athletes.
Kelly Markworth, the boys volleyball coach at Glenbard East, was among Abby’s first coaches.
“She definitely is a big reason why I’m playing volleyball. It’s just super cool to have someone in my house to talk volleyball. She understands it all and she’s helped me a lot,” Markworth said.
“Envisioning college, I never saw myself without volleyball. And then seeing how much it helped my siblings and my parents make that good connection. You’re part of a culture and a team aspect. That’s what I’m super excited about.”
Mom, however, was a defensive specialist. Markworth was tried at setter in 11s club volleyball and never looked back.
Now Markworth is in sight of the LTHS 2,236 career assists record by 2012 graduate Alexis Viliunas, a key component of the Lions’ 2010 Class 4A state championship team who then played at Illinois.
“(As setter) I really love how I’m able to run the offense,” Markworth said. “I like with setting how you kind of have a thought process and you can’t really just set anyone. You have to think who’s hot, who’s cold, what’s the block, the defense. I like all of the mindsets to it.”