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MTSU Volleyball Excitedly Awaits The Arrival of New Israeli Signee, Chen Abramovich

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

By: Jack Patterson

MTN Sports Reporter

Earlier this month, MTSU volleyball’s head coach, Chuck Crawford, signed five new players to his roster. Of these new signees, one of them stood out based on where she was from, Chen Abramovich. She was born and raised in Kfar Saba, Israel, where she started her volleyball career. Throughout her playing time at Galili High School, she utterly dominated, helping to capture the National Championship in 2017.

However, her volleyball career after high school came to a halt. In Israel, it is required of every citizen to serve at least two years in the Israeli Defense System (IDF). After her service in the IDF is when her volleyball career resumed. She moved to the United States and started out at the University of Nebraska for her first two years, one of which she red-shirted. She then transferred to the University of California Polytechnic where she currently resides.

During her time there, Corona Virus struck, which led to every college athlete getting another year of eligibility. This semester will be her final one at Cal Poly, and Coach Crawford capitalized on this fact. “Because the red-shirt year is an additional year, and the covid year is an additional year, she has two years left. So, she went in the transfer portal, and we needed a DS (Defensive Specialist), and we found her and that was about it,” said Crawford when asked how he came across Abramovich.

It is not every day that a college sports team has someone on their roster who has served in a country’s military, which is one of the major things that stood out about her to Coach Crawford. “Her level of maturity… she is not the typical transfer. She carried a gun to protect her country and other kids don’t understand that concept. She is a phenomenal person,” he said.

The Abramovich family has had to endure a lot, just based on the fact that they are of Jewish heritage. Chen’s great grandparents on her father’s side were both killed in the Holocaust and her grand father thankfully made it out alive. Almost her entire family on her father’s side was killed during the Holocaust. This fact had a lot of influence on Coach Crawford’s signing decision of Chen, “They know what it means to grind and fight. So, culturally, it’s the perfect fit. Our culture is the more gritty, in your face type culture. So, with her family history and her being in the Army, it again is the perfect fit,” he said.

He went on to say that she has not only already had an influence on him, but he believes her character and her personality will have a positive impact on the team as a whole as well. “Last year, the thing we missed the most was leadership. We have the leaders that will be there for each other, but you have to have a very specific leader in every program that is not afraid to say what needs to be said, and Chen is not afraid. She will call it like it is,” said Crawford. Because the team has lacked this type of leadership over the past few years, Crawford described his team as one that has done well but would also be known for losing matches that were easily winnable.

The team overall had been lacking that specific leader to step up in those hard moments, and Crawford said having a coach be that leader is not the same as having it be a player. “I think Chen is that leader,” he said with a smile on his face. He could not have praised her enough, saying that she is very hard working and that this work ethic is going to speak louder than her words.

The team expects her arrival in early July according to Coach Crawford, as the players will all be enrolled in summer classes. He believes she will have no problem in building relationships quickly with the team, but in that, that is how she will find her leadership style/role. Once official fall practices start, Coach Crawford said the competitiveness will only increase because of a few returning, talented defensive specialists.

“It’s like the old adage, ‘steel sharpens steel,’ so it is going to be a really big challenge between the DS’s, and whoever wins out, wins out. But they will all make each other better. The way she (Abramovich) plays the game, that gritty, tough, blue-collar mentality, whether she is the starting libero or a defender coming in the back row, its going to make us better regardless,” he said in regard to her being a day one starter or not.

Despite the fact that Abramovich and the other five signees will not join the team until summer, Coach Crawford anticipates a successful season this spring that he looks to build off of upon her arrival. The Blue Raiders open their spring season vs Tennessee Tech on February 26th at noon.

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