BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LINCOLN, Neb. – A top collegiate NCAA women’s volleyball publication has West Point’s Mikaela Foecke projected as the 8th top prospect for the National Women’s Player of the Year.
Foecke is coming off her sophomore season with the Nebraska Cornhuskers where they finished the Big10 as champions at 18-2 and wound up 31-3 and made it to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
FloVolleyball, a national volleyball media outlet has Foecke listed as No. 8 on the list of top 10 prospects for National Player of the Year, but the former Holy Trinity School and Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, said team goals will always outweigh individual goals.
“Honestly, I think personal awards don’t mean a whole lot,” Foecke said. “I’d rather have a Big10 or national championship. That represents our team a little bit better. Sometimes those things just come with it.”
She said the individual accomplishments are just a result of the overall team effort.
“That kind of thing is exciting. We’ve got a lot in store for this year,” she said. “We have a chance to go after a championship and I wouldn’t even be on that list if it weren’t for my teammates.”
Over the first two years, Foecke has 729 kills, just over three per set, 1791 total attacks, 202 digs, 74 aces, and 843 total points.
She said the Huskers lost three seniors in twins Katie and Amber Rolfzen. Katie was an outside hitter and Amber was a middle blocker. They also lost outside hitter Andy Malloy and Justine Wong-Orantus, a libero, all to graduation.
“I think every year the dynamic of your team changes. Kenzie Maloney (junior libero, defensive specialist) and I are upperclassmen. We have to assume the role of leadership, setting a good tone for the team and being good leaders.”
The Cornhuskers come into the season ranked 5th nationally in a cluster of Big10 schools. Minnesota is ranked 4th, with Penn State and Wisconsin at 6th and 7th. Texas, Stanford, and Washington take the top 3 spots.
Foecke said the preseason has been strong for the Huskers.
“We’re looking good. We’ve got some new players, five freshman and one transfer,” she said. “I think this gives us a chance to set the tone for everyone. To put our own stamp on Nebraska volleyball. This year we are concentrating on working hard and trying to give ourselves a shot at a championship.”
The Huskers kick off the season on Aug. 25 in the VERT challenge against Oregon.