The focus is beginning to change a bit for Andover junior Marissa Kobelski.
She’s been playing basketball for most of her life, with distinction, but volleyball is beginning to become — if ever so slightly — a bit more of a favorite.
“I like them both, but I think volleyball is becoming more of a priority,” said the 5-foot-11 1/2 Kobelski.
Based on the way Kobelski and the Warriors have played thus far this fall, that’s understandable. Andover is off to a 7-2 start on the heels of last year’s 0-5 COVID-shortened season and Kobelski is a major reason why. Switched from outside hitter to middle hitter this fall, she is averaging in double figures in kills and had 15 in a win over Chelmsford last week.
While Kobelski believes she is having a good season thus far, she doesn’t take a lot of credit for the team’s turnaround.
“I think a big thing this year is our team chemistry,” said Kobelski, who is a captain as a junior. “Everyone gets along and we communicate really well.”
The Warriors are also a competitive, spunky and sometimes aggressive group, however, and Kobelski can take some credit for that as a shining example. Coming from an extremely athletic family and one in which losing is distasteful, the traits have become natural for her.
“I get that from my siblings and my parents,” said Kobelski. “I grew up playing basketball with them at home, and volleyball, and everyone in my family is extremely competitive. Games can get heated.”
There is certainly a wealth of athletic talent in the Kobelski family, of which Marissa is the youngest.
Father, Greggory, was a football star at Central Catholic who went on to play at Maine. Mother Lorri was a volleyball captain at Andover, oldest sister Cassandra was an all-around athlete at Andover who threw the shot put at Holy Cross and is currently an assistant volleyball coach at Framingham. Lone brother Greggory played football and lacrosse at St. John’s Prep and football at Villanova, Kayla was a volleyball and basketball standout at Andover and sister Toni focused on track and now competes for Johnson and Wales.
“I get advice from all of them and they’ve all had an influence on me and steered me on my way,” said Kobelski. “It was so fun watching them play growing up and I wanted to play like them.”
While her father went to Central, there was no question where Marissa was going.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Warrior,” she said. “I was the water girl for the (basketball) team when Kayla played and got to go to the TD Garden and I thought that was so cool. and then I got to go as a freshman (two years ago), which was great.”
Andover coach Jane Bergin is certainly happy that Kobelski is staying close to home.
“Marissa is a throwback to the days when kids would work out in their backyard trying to get better (and) works tirelessly on her game,” said Bergin. “(Also), Marissa’s has a very fun loving and infectious personality. She lightens up the mood and keeps us all grounded.
“She is the consummate teammate and player to have on any team. We are so grateful to have her in our program.”
Looking ahead, Kobelski — who plays club volleyball for EVO and club basketball for Mass. Impact — is hoping to be a scholarship athlete in college, perhaps in volleyball, especially if she can grow just a bit more.
“I’m hoping I keep growing at least another inch,” she said. “I was 5-foot-8 as a freshman and I think I have the tall genes in the family.”
She definitely has those competitive genes.