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Sophomore middle-blocker Kelly Foley’s freshman volleyball campaign will be tough to repeat.
Foley’s accomplishments included National Freshman of the Year and MIAC Rookie of the Year. Even with many individual honors, Foley said she believes the team’s overall success assisted in racking up the hardware.
“I wouldn’t have gotten the awards without the team doing so well last year,” Foley said.
St. Thomas volleyball coach Thanh Pham said Foley brings many intangibles to the team.
“One of the big things Kelly brings is her unlimited amount of energy,” Pham said. “When she gets in, and is demanding the ball, she can really spark our team.”
Senior defensive specialist Kia Johnson said she thinks Foley likes to have fun, but knows when to focus on the game.
“Kelly is definitely a competitor,” Johnson said. “She’s goofy, she likes to joke around, she pushes me around all the time, she’s just really fun to play with and at the same time takes the game seriously. She takes her play seriously.”
This season, Foley leads St. Thomas with 154 kills and 51 total blocks. She sports a .370 hitting percentage, which ranks in Division III’s top 40. With her team ranked seventh in the nation, Foley said the squad needs to keep its focus on each match heading into the tough conference season.
“I don’t really expect to get more personal awards, and I’m not really hoping for that. I just know that if I go out there and give it my all every time, good things will happen,” Foley said.
With many players returning from an NCAA Elite Eight appearance last year, Pham believes Foley will be a catalyst in helping the team reach its ultimate goal: winning a national championship.
“She jumps a little bit higher, a little bit different arm swing and it makes it really hard for teams to decide how they are going to defend us and with all the other great hitters on our team. It frees everybody up,” Pham said.
Ross Schreck can be reached at email@example.com.